Monday, February 7, 2011

Acts of Violence Againts Gay Men in Belize and Cases of discrimination

The cases below are examples of violence and discrimination that LGBT persons have experienced in Belize. We have counted 17 murders and 8 assaults from 1997 to 2010 thus far that we are aware of using newspaper articles and interviews as sources of information. Because of the sensitive nature of  privacy, we will never be able to file all cases for public viewing.

 
Brutal Murder in Orange Walk; Throat Slit & Beaten with Bat
posted (February 13, 2009)

There was a brutal murder this morning in Orange Walk. 44 year old Enrique Castillo was found dead around 9 this morning inside his home on the Belize-Corozal Road in Orange Walk Town. He had been beaten to death with a baseball bat and his throat was cut with a kitchen knife. It is a horrible murder and police say they know who did it. But why? - was it robbery or was it because of Enrique Castillo’s lifestyle? Keith Swift went to Orange Walk to find answers.
Keith Swift Reporting,
This dramatic video is from the inside Enrique Castillo’s home where blood was everywhere - the bedroom, the bathroom, but principally in the kitchen in which the tiles, appliances, and counters were covered in blood. And it is in the kitchen this morning that the 44 year old’s family found him dead and in the nude.
Antonette Young, Sister of Deceased
“I came by this morning at about 9:15 and when I came by I normally would knock on his bedroom window and would call out his name and he would answer me on the second call and he would get up and open the door. But this morning when I came, I did the same and I didn’t hear a response. So the kitchen was opened and I peeped in there and when I peeped in there I saw the faucet was running and blood all over the sink.”
Orquidi Castillo, Brother of Deceased
“My wife immediately called me and I informed them to call the police. So I was here just as the police was arriving and I was the one that walked in and saw him in his own house brutally murdered in no different term.”
Antonette Young,
“There was blood all over the house. The house was upside down and he was murdered. My brother is dead.”
Orquidi Castillo,
“He was killed. In a nutshell he was killed. Murdered, slaughtered – how could I put it? In no different way, it was a bloody mess. His throat was slashed.”
Ric – as his family and friends called him – lived alone in the two bedroom bungalow in Orange Walk but worked in Caye Chapel. He returned home yesterday and his sister in law last saw him alive partying around midnight.
Estella August, Sister in Law of Victim
“He came in yesterday and he normally parties when he comes in right at his house. So peeped at the window because I heard music and I saw him dancing with two guys, I don’t really want to call their names right now, and that was like after 12. We went back to bed and we didn’t hear anything until this morning.”
Keith Swift,
And these people he was partying with, they were his usual friends?
Estella August,
“No they are his friends.”
Keith Swift,
So there were no suspicious guys?
Estella August,
“No because he normally parties his friends but right at home.”
Enrique Castillo’s house was ransacked. His jewellery, his cell phone, his money were call stolen. So robbery appears to be the motive but his family says you also have to consider his sexual preference and the fact that he may have been killed by someone he knew.
Antonette Young,
“He was a good brother. In spite of his sexual preferences or anything, I mean he was a brother, a good brother and it is so sad that he was murdered this way. His attackers, it was two of them. We know it was two of them, my brother is a big hefty guy and one person he would have handled. But two of them and he died a brutal death. My brother yes was a homosexual, he had people who cared for him, he had friends all over the place and the ones that did it to him knew him. There was no forced entry and apparently one of them had some type of relationship with him and this was not a hate crime. This was just malicious.”
Keith Swift,
You said it was someone he had a relationship with so could it have been domestic?
Antonette Young,
“No it wouldn’t have been a domestic because my brother lived with no one. He was free, he was single but he had friends.”
Keith Swift,
You think someone who knew him did this?
Estella August,
“Yeah I guess they wanted money because he brought money home with him last night because I know.”
The police agree.
DC Jeffrey Williams, Lead Investigator
“It shows so far that robbery, some items were stolen from the house and again we know that there was a indoor party at that house.”
Keith Swift,
How many people were at that party?
DC Jeffrey Williams,
“We believe that there were four persons we understand so far but there could be more.”
Keith Swift,
So the person who killed him is somebody he knew?
DC Jeffrey Williams,
“Definitely someone he knew.”
Keith Swift,
What’s this person’s relationship to Mr. Castillo?
DC Jeffrey Williams,
“There is no specific relation but we understand that they see each other on a daily basis as they relatively live beside each other as neighbours. We understand from some eyewitnesses that there are two persons that left the area. So apparently there could be another person that joined the party afterwards.”
Keith Swift,
Have you found the murder weapon?
DC Jeffrey Williams,
“We believe, our initial investigations revealed so far that it likely could be two items that were used to cause the fatal to Mr. Castillo. One we suspect a wooden baseball bat and second a sharp object, probably a knife to slit his throat.”
A brutal death for a man everyone loved.
Orquidi Castillo,
“He was good to each and every one, to anybody, and sometimes I think too good and that is the sad part.”
Antonette Young,
“Whoever did this to my brother will get it, we will find them, and I pray that this will be a wakeup call. As my brother said, justice will prevail.”
So police tonight are searching for Nimrod Tillett. Anyone with information can call the nearest police station. Police though still believe he is in the Orange Walk District hiding. We should note that while Castillo’s sister discussed the gay angle – police say it is not part of their consideration since robbery seems to have been the only motive. A post mortem will be conducted on Enrique Castillo next week. He worked as the food and beverage manager at the Caye Chapel Resort. We understand he might have had as much as three thousand dollars on him.

 Source: http://www.7newsbelize.com/sstory.php?nid=13346&frmsrch=1

Posted: 30/07/2010 - 10:12 AM
Author: Aaron Humes

Rafael Mencias, 21, aka “Bull”, a horse trainer and jockey originally of Orange Walk Town, who was wanted in connection with a brutal murder on Monday night in the small village of Carolina, has been apprehended after briefly eluding the law, and charged with murder.
  
He appeared in Magistrate’s Court in Corozal Town today, Thursday, as Magistrate Leslie Hamilton was not in office yesterday when Mencias was supposed to have been arraigned. He was remanded until his next appearance, on October 27.
 
An additional charge of arson may be in the works for Mencias, pending an investigation by the Fire Service in Corozal.
  
“Bull” was caught at the bus station in Corozal Town around 9:30 Tuesday night, just shy of 24 hours after a fatal meeting with Phillip Moses Hall, 41, of Carolina, about 3 miles out of Corozal Town on the Northern Highway.
  
Mencias is accused of stabbing Hall to death at his, Mencias’ residence in the village, and then allegedly setting the room on fire.
  
According to police, they visited a two-storey 9- by 13-foot concrete building in the village, the top section of which was incomplete, just before 10:00 Monday night and observed the lower flat in flames. Fire Service personnel put out the fire and an inspection of the building led to the discovery of Hall’s motionless body, an examination of which showed about 15 stab wounds in the neck, chest and abdomen; the body was severely burnt below the waist.
  
Initial reports were that Hall’s genitals had been hacked off, but according to Police Department press officer Sgt. Fitzroy Yearwood, the genitals were found to have been severely burnt, as well as the right leg, but not cut off. This was confirmed in the post-mortem examination conducted on Hall on Wednesday, in Belize City, which certified the cause of death as exhumation from internal and external bleeding due to multiple stab wounds.
  
A Corozal Fire Service official told us today that they were called by their police counterparts at 10:00 Monday night about the fire, and responded with three trucks, arriving at 10:05 p.m. It was at this point they were told of the body inside the building, not yet identified.
  
The fire was put out at 10:18 p.m. Hall’s body was found face up near the only exit of the building, the front door, and apparently nude.
  
Subsequent investigation of the premises by the Fire Service personnel uncovered an empty gallon bottle inside the residence and some cloth which appeared to have been soaked in a substance suspected to be gasoline. They also found an aluminum pole outside the residence, with some cloth tied on the end, also appearing to have been soaked in the same substance as the cloth found inside. It is suspected that this may have been used to set the fire, by means of being pushed through one of the two board louver windows.
  
Damage was caused to half the bed and mattress, a standing fan, and some clothes inside the premises.
  
Officially, the Corozal Fire Service says it suspects that the fire was “deliberately set,” but refuses to speculate on possible arson charges for Mencias.
  
Police say Hall and Mencias were socializing in Rafael’s room on Monday night, where it appears they got into a misunderstanding resulting in the attack and subsequent fire.
  
But it is what is behind that attack that has shocked Hall’s family and residents of the close-knit community of Carolina.
  
Amandala understands from family and friends that Hall, formerly a bartender but unemployed at the time of his death, Mencias and a group of their friends were socializing on Sunday night at the stable where Mencias worked when Hall made comments to the effect that he “liked seeing” Mencias, whereupon the younger man responded that he wasn’t “like that.” At the time, the group thought that Hall was merely making a joke.
  
A niece of Hall admitted to us on Wednesday that he had exhibited homosexual tendencies, and possibly a sexual advance on Mencias by Hall on Monday night may have turned out to be a fatal mistake. She insisted, however, that to her knowledge, her uncle never approached anyone in a sexual manner.
  
A caretaker at the stable where Mencias worked told our colleagues at CTV-3 News that “Bull” allegedly went to him at the stable on Monday night and confessed to Hall’s murder, asking for assistance in disposing of the body. When he, the caretaker, went inside to talk to his boss, he reports, “Bull” disappeared and was not seen again until his capture at the bus station on Tuesday. It is thought that he stabbed Hall during the altercation, went to the stable, and later returned to set the building on fire.
  
Family members of Hall told Amandala on Tuesday afternoon in the village that they had no idea why “Bull” would kill Hall, and say that Hall was never a troublemaker, even while drinking liquor, as he was known to do frequently. He is survived by a sister, brothers, and other relatives.
  
On Wednesday, Hall’s niece told us via telephone from Carolina that the family wants justice for Hall’s death. “That is all we can hope for…He did not deserve to die the way he did even for what he was,” she said, referring to his homosexual lifestyle, adding that she hoped Mencias got a long stint in jail as punishment if he is convicted.
 
source: http://www.amandala.com.bz/index.php?id=10132
 
Belize: Protect Students from Discrimination and Expulsion
12/03/2009


Join the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) in calling on the Ministry of Education of Belize and other authorities to take legal action to ensure that Jose Garcia is not prevented from attending school because of his sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression and to protect him from harassment and discrimination.

Expelled!

On October 1 and 5, 2009, Jose Garcia, a 19-year-old student at Baptist School of Adult and Continuing Education in Belmopan, Belize, received letters from the school threatening to dismiss him is because "he acts like a girl," "dresses effeminately," "uses the female bathroom," and "carries a purse as his school bag." On October 20, Jose received a letter from the school principal, Norman Willacey, asking that Jose withdraw from the school and seek counseling. Later, he told Jose, "You have me so embarrassed. I don't want to see you here in the compound. If you [don't] leave right now I will call the police!"
Authorities seem to be unwilling to act to protect Jose Garcia's right to education. The Public Information Officer of Belmopan, Arlette Gomez, has stated that it is their aim to ensure that Mr. Garcia's constitutional rights are not being infringed upon and that the guidelines of the Education Act and Rules are being followed. The Minister of Education, Patrick Faber, has also stated that the school is "bound to follow the constitution, otherwise anybody can take them to court." Nonetheless, the Minister has offered no concrete protection for Jose Garcia, stating that "it is a Baptist High School, there is not much the Ministry can do."
“I am not hurting anybody because of the way I dress.”
–Jose Garcia
Discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression in education systems is a serious problem all over the world that has not been addressed at all. Harassment, mistreatment, violence, and other human rights violations threaten students' physical or emotional well-being, influence how well students do in school, make it difficult for students to achieve their career goals, and excludes thousands of students all over the world entirely from education systems.


All people have the right to education under international human rights law without discrimination based on, and taking into account sexual orientation and gender identity (Yogyakarta Principle 16). Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Article 13 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), Article 28 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention against Discrimination in Education, all of which Belize is party to, ensure the right to education of all. Additionally, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Convention Against Torture (CAT), and the ICESCR are explicitly interpreted to include protection from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity (Human Rights Committee: Toonen v. Australia; Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights General Comment 20; Committee Against Torture General Comment 2).
Furthermore, the right to education without discrimination exists in Belize law as well. The preamble to the Belize Constitution states that "a just system should be ensured to provide for education and health on the basis of equality," and the Education Act dictates that "[s]chools shall be free of gender, racial and other biases (Art. 25 (2))." Jose Garcia's rights to education and non-discrimination under international and Belize law are being violated by his expulsion, threatening all other rights underpinned by equal access to education, including his right to work, to housing, and to health.

Belize: Protect Students from Discrimination and Expulsion
12/03/2009


Join the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) in calling on the Ministry of Education of Belize and other authorities to take legal action to ensure that Jose Garcia is not prevented from attending school because of his sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression and to protect him from harassment and discrimination.

Expelled!

On October 1 and 5, 2009, Jose Garcia, a 19-year-old student at Baptist School of Adult and Continuing Education in Belmopan, Belize, received letters from the school threatening to dismiss him is because "he acts like a girl," "dresses effeminately," "uses the female bathroom," and "carries a purse as his school bag." On October 20, Jose received a letter from the school principal, Norman Willacey, asking that Jose withdraw from the school and seek counseling. Later, he told Jose, "You have me so embarrassed. I don't want to see you here in the compound. If you [don't] leave right now I will call the police!"
Authorities seem to be unwilling to act to protect Jose Garcia's right to education. The Public Information Officer of Belmopan, Arlette Gomez, has stated that it is their aim to ensure that Mr. Garcia's constitutional rights are not being infringed upon and that the guidelines of the Education Act and Rules are being followed. The Minister of Education, Patrick Faber, has also stated that the school is "bound to follow the constitution, otherwise anybody can take them to court." Nonetheless, the Minister has offered no concrete protection for Jose Garcia, stating that "it is a Baptist High School, there is not much the Ministry can do."
“I am not hurting anybody because of the way I dress.”
–Jose Garcia
Discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression in education systems is a serious problem all over the world that has not been addressed at all. Harassment, mistreatment, violence, and other human rights violations threaten students' physical or emotional well-being, influence how well students do in school, make it difficult for students to achieve their career goals, and excludes thousands of students all over the world entirely from education systems.
Find out more about violations of students' right to education for being lesbian in Chile and transgender in Argentina »
All people have the right to education under international human rights law without discrimination based on, and taking into account sexual orientation and gender identity (Yogyakarta Principle 16). Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Article 13 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), Article 28 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention against Discrimination in Education, all of which Belize is party to, ensure the right to education of all. Additionally, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Convention Against Torture (CAT), and the ICESCR are explicitly interpreted to include protection from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity (Human Rights Committee: Toonen v. Australia; Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights General Comment 20; Committee Against Torture General Comment 2).
Furthermore, the right to education without discrimination exists in Belize law as well. The preamble to the Belize Constitution states that "a just system should be ensured to provide for education and health on the basis of equality," and the Education Act dictates that "[s]chools shall be free of gender, racial and other biases (Art. 25 (2))." Jose Garcia's rights to education and non-discrimination under international and Belize law are being violated by his expulsion, threatening all other rights underpinned by equal access to education, including his right to work, to housing, and to health.

source: http://www.iglhrc.org/cgi-bin/iowa/article/takeaction/globalactionalerts/1032.html


 
 
 

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