Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Reporter Editorial-Just Fascinating

Posted on The Reporter site on 29th April,2011
Posted on this blog: 25th June, 2011

I always love when newspapers misrepresent the facts, but like all things, free speech is free speech. See below the editorial from the reporter:

It has to be clear to all that the campaign by unibam to gain legal recognition for homosexuals and lesbians  is  being sponsored by funding from abroad! Unibam has retained the services of two attorneys from abroad who are Queen’s Counsels, and the leader of unibam has admitted that he getting support from the gay organization known as the Human Dignity Trust.
Unibam also claims it has the support of the Belize AIDS Commission, which is a government-appointed  civil   body established to  reduce the prevalence  of AIDS in Belize. Some of the people serving on this Commission appear to be sympathetic to unibam’s cause, though there has been no official pronouncement on this subject.
A spokesperson for the Commission has disclosed however that the Commission has prepared draft legislation designed to remove the stigma attached to homosexuality and lesbianism, in the hope that people suffering from AIDS will be more willing to come forward for treatment.
These efforts to normalize deviant behavior by removing the taboos are presented in the guise of modern thinking. Laws which discourage homosexual behavior are described as old-fashioned. A new liberalism, which has begun to sweep the Caribbean now argues that the contagion of AIDS, which was greatly assisted by homosexual behavior in the first place, may now be contained by more homosexual behavior that has legal approval.  
What we are seeing in Belize is how lobbyist organizations from abroad spend their money to influence developments in Belize. It began with lobbyists from the United Kingdom who provided money for appeals against capital punishment in Belize.           
This was followed by environmental lobbyists who are opposed to oil exploration in nature reserves, and who are willing to provide money to buy friends and influence people.
The third wave of lobbying activity has now arrived - to legalize homosexual behavior because, its proponents promise, it will help to control the AIDS epidemic.                         
The difficulty with the liberal philosophy is that it  is so deceptively plausible! It will take years of community decay to disprove the garbage inherent in the new ideas. Suspension of the death penalty in Belize has not reduced the volume and frequency of murder! 
Failure to develop our petroleum and petro-chemical potential will not help to liberate Belize from her cycle of poverty and crime.  Legal acceptance of homosexual behavior will not play any significant role in reducing the incidence of AIDS in Belize. 
 The AIDS epidemic   will be controlled by responsible social behavior, not by further licentiousness and debauchery! The allure of the forbidden fruit is always hard to resist. Those who eat of it will indeed have their eyes opened. But only disillusionment and decay await those who believe in its empty promises.

Overturning the Constitution-Paul Rodriguez

Posted on blog: 25th, June, 2011
Posted on the Amandala websited:  10th June,2011
 
Dear Editor,
  
To understand the enormity of what Caleb Orosco is asking our Supreme Court to do, you have to know the features of the Belize Constitution, especially its Preamble and its chapter on individual rights and freedoms.
 
Our Constitution is not unique in admitting the existence of God, but it does so in a simple direct way, giving evidence of the genius of the men who framed it. In paragraph (a) it says that our nation is founded upon principles which acknowledge the supremacy of God.
 
Paragraph (b) tells Belizeans that we are not just a conglomeration of individuals, but a society which must work for the common good.
  
Paragraph (c) proclaims that the will of the people is the basis of governance in Belize.
  
One could have thought that after mentioning those powerful foundational principles contained in (a), (b) and (c) the framers of the Constitution had said enough, but they continued to draw an inevitable conclusion in (d) “that men and institutions remain free only when freedom is founded upon respect for moral and spiritual values and upon the rule of law.”
  
I have seen Caleb Orosco in two television interviews; both times he has asserted that all he wants is to be conceded his right of free sexual expression. With due respect, both times he conjured up the image of a child who throws a tantrum for a lollipop which its mother is refusing him, because he is diabetic.  Good and dutiful mothers always do what is right and best for the child by refusing to deliver the candy to the child.
  
Like a good mother, Belize must refuse to concede to him a right which he thinks he has but really does not, because it does not exist. The right to sexual expression is based on the human biological need to procreate and continue the species.  It is not based on an individual’s desire to experience pleasure.
  
Whether he realizes it or not, what Mr. Orosco is asking Belize to do is to concede that he has an absolute right of privacy to express his sexuality, whether that expression accords with the good of society, or not. 
  
On the other hand, Chapter Two of the Constitution, with abundant clarity, tells me that no right is absolute, that every right must be limited so as not to prejudice the rights and freedoms of others.
   
How will Mr. Orosco’s absolute right of sexual expression prejudice the rights and freedom of others?
  
Once homosexuality is de-criminalized, everyone who has the tendency will be free to openly engage in the lifestyle and promote it to others, reaching into homes and influencing our children in schools. Over 95% of Belizeans believe the homosexual act to be immoral. If I may not say this publicly, is not my right to educate my children as I see fit prejudiced?
  
If Mr. Orosco wins his day in court, it will be a monumental tragedy for Belize. Among other errors that will be re-introduced is the pagan concept that physical pleasure is the greatest good. Then we can kiss goodbye to the socially upbuilding values of self-sacrifice, having a concern for others, putting another first, the willingness to put your life on the line to protect others, etc.
  
As we go through this exercise of determining why we should and must reject Caleb Orosco’s initiative, it is my fervent prayer that Belizeans will review and repossess the greatest social, cultural and civilizational values ever conceived. Among them are: (1) there is one God who exercises a benevolent providence over us; (2) mankind is God’s family; (3) all humans are God’s children and we are all brothers and sisters; (4) suffering pain in doing the right thing is part of God’s plan for us to develop strength of character to save ourselves and others from mediocrity and uselessness.
   
Our Belize is destined for greatness! We will achieve that high estate when we wholeheartedly embrace the values which have from the beginning led to the creation of great societies.
 
Paul Rodriguez

Advancing the Section 53 Case-Review

June 25th, 2011

The case has inspired the LGBT community to organize itself as a strategy group. This to me is cool and so in my mind they will be primarily handling the Public Relations issues of the case. I have committed to staying out of their way to allow for spokespersons to step up. While this is happening Civil Society has also organized themselves to conduct research, issue a statement etc.

It is clear from my analysis that parts of the media is bias in not allowing for a health discourse. Plus TV has shut down any healthy discussion in out case and sought to misrepresent the facts. The press release in this case have followed a similiar line. Here are some things that have happen so far with my religious opponents.

1).Say we are going after the children and demanding New Rights.
2).Our case threatens the fundamental right of the churches to practice their own belief.
3).We will use sexual health education to promote homosexual acts.
4).We raise rats to have sex.
5).That if you pray enough you could be cured of homosexuality.
6).Homosexuality is a choice.
7).We are pushing this case to advance gay marriage
8).The Evangelicals have had the case on Christian TV for one month hammering away at the case and completely misrepresenting the facts.
9). the Evangelicals led by Pastor  Scott Stirm (I call him sperm) organized a group of about 50 pastors in the Western part of the country at a Church called Calverio Church to ask for Prays of finance to support the case on May 2nd.
11).On June 5th, a motercade of about 20 cars paraded in our nations capitals with the usual hatful signs that tiggered harrassment of our people in that part of the country.
12).They aired a 3 part series where they explained that the will used ads to show how we are going to target the children; use a ex-gay to show how prays can cure homosexuality and basically fearmonger.
13). They had a meeting in Belize City at a Nazerene church where among other things they would pray for Caleb to drive the demons out of him. One guy said that he went to bed angry, but when he woke up he was told by God that he should not be angry at Caleb and when he sees Caleb he should give Caleb a hug.

14). On June 11th, I was at the airport bus stop when a woman, all of a sudden felt the holy ghost and that she needed to send me words of God's Love.(of course i was completely irritated.) Upon going to buy water for Eric, she told eric and i quote" This maybe the last few minutes on Earth, Turn to God!" I was irked after he told me what happened  while we were leaving. I got upset because he arrived with a fever. On the same day and man drove up to me with a prayer paper and repeated his action about two days ago.

Were are we with the case is  Pre-Trial Hearing is to be heard July 27th, 2011 while the full hearings is not expected before December as the lawyers are having trouble setting a date. Work continues on additional submissions as well on our side.

I must say things have calmed down now, but expect the usual protests next the court, usual media biases and fearmongering. We shall see how it goes. This time around, I will be stepping back on the case and allowing others to the forefront.

The Belizean Delegation to the UN Special Session-LGBT Action





Written: June 25th, 2011

While Eric Castellanos was making waves in the political declaration, I was dialoguing with the representatives from AIDS FreeWorld. They eventually committed to support the regional effort to advance our section 53. Mauirce Tomlinson must be acknowledged for facilitating that meeting. He reminded me that I have a responsibility to the region to ensure that we win for our action has strong regional implications. He reminded me that i know longer represent just Belize, but all the hopes of LGBT populations in the region in their concerns to address stigma and discrimination. 

Eric and I also had the chance to chat with the Health Minister of Belize at the Belize Mission in New York. I suppose all politicians like feedback to see how they are doing, in this case it was HIV/AIDS. We were surprisingly politically correct, but didnt mince words either. Eric shared his concerns about the lack of access to viral load testing and i shared my concerns about the lack of visibility of men who have sex with men and sex workers representatives being visibile at the policy table. I shared that there has never been an inter-ministerial committee that treated health as the center of development. I regret not saying more, as I am usually more forthright. The main message to him was that leaders establish a vision of where they desire to take a country's development and then mobilize accordingly. Leaders must lead smartly to bring about social change rather than be complacent about having it go them. What I believe  I should have said was that his Ministry of Health have yet to establish targeted interventions for the men who have sex with men and sex workers and that his Ministry had failed to define its human rights-base approach to health delivery.

I have to admit that  I was late for the three hour luncheon because of my dialogue with AIDS Free World. Still, I got to talk to Michael Side, the Executive Director for UNAIDS, meet Michael Kirky from Human Dignity Trust, chatted with Yolanda Simon from CRN plus.

I love being with Eric because he is an open PLHIV, he is Transgender and hehas a vision of where he wants to take the issues of Care, Treatment and Support. I consider him the most powerful PLHIV advocate ever to be present in Belize for he has already shown incredibly tenacity in his reports to REDCA that ended up at a Ministerial meeting, being elected as the PLHIV representative on our National AIDS Commission, being part of the Country coordinating Mechanism for Monitoring Global Fund and soon the head for BENET. Belize first network for positive people.

Beyond that, there were discussions about the country's development, sexual and reproductive rights and the churches stronghold on the prevention message. It was a good space, but I realize that the same space would not be available upon our return.



UN High Level Meeting-Unbelievable Passivity





Written: June 25th, 2011

The United Nations Special Session on HIV meeting was held between the 8th and 10th of June. What I learnt from that expereince was how CARICOM habits differ from its statements. I had attended a Breakfast meeting with the 60 delegates from the region, a presentation was made, but only two persons made any statement from the audience. I made the comment that all across the region our constitution and our human rights committment was being replaced by biblical langauge and call for a stronger effort to ensuring that human rights language was seen in the Political Declaration while Javeion Nelson spoke to the sovereignity clause.

Before arriving in New York, I found out that the CARICOM negotiator was voting with the Holy See on positions that was not in the interest of marginalize groups. Concerns issued over the Final Political declaration can be quoted in the following ways from Latin American American Civil Society Analysis:

"There is evidence that in Latin America the most intensely affect populations are the trans groups (transvestites, transsexuals and transgenders), even so, they have not been included in the document as such and so their invisibility continues as before, due to the refusal of some Member States to acknowledge their existence."
"Paragraphs 77 and 85 omit to mention homophobia, transphobia and the discrimination of sex workers as factors that significantly increase the risk of HIV infection in those groups. Also the phrasing of “including commercial exploitation” to qualify the focus on the sexual exploitation of women (but not of boys and girls) used in paragraph 18 (as it was in the 2006 declaration) stigmatises sex workers, both male and female and undermines the recognition of sexual work as labour. "
"The second paragraph approved undermines the credibility of the references to human rights insofar as it suggests that local law and social, cultural and religious norms should take priority over human rights obligations."
 
"The only goal that specifically concerns women is restricted to the issue of vertical transmission alone and as such does not consider women or girls or guarantee them access to health, and the enjoyment of their sexual and reproductive rights and to integral sexual education and a life free from violence."
We welcome the explicit references made to men that have sex with men, drug users, sex workers and their clients, although we are concerned that the text fails to guarantee the unfolding of any concrete actions regarding the human rights of such populations. Furthermore the text of paragraph 26 stigmatises drug users by failing to make any reference to their human rights."
These concerns are repeats of an email that was send out to the 60 member delegation of the Caribbean previously. The lessons learnt was in the following ways:
1).The region was too passive in its negotiations during the political declaration.
2).Latin American Representatives met 12:00 and at 5:00 in the evening while the region had one breakfast meeting that did nothing to help inform delegates.
For the Belize Delegation, the lessons learnt:
1). Shunning Civil Society Delegates from Government meetings did not build any relationship of confidence.
2). Tell advocates to restrain themselves is licenses for them to do just the opposite.
3).Use time at these meetings to dialogue on areas of concern at home with Minister if available.
4). Network, network, network!





Friday, June 10, 2011

OAS LGBTTI Resolution 2653- San Salvador-2011


AG/RES. 2653 (XLI-O/11) HUMAN RIGHTS, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, AND GENDER IDENTITY (Adopted at the fourth plenary session, held on June 7, 2011) THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, TAKING INTO ACCOUNT resolutions AG/RES. 2435 (XXXVIII-O/08), AG/RES. 2504 (XXXIX-O/09), and AG/RES. 2600 (XL-O/10), “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity”; 

REITERATING: 
That the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in that instrument, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status; and That the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man establishes that every human being has the right to life, liberty, and the security of his person without distinction as to race, sex, language, creed, or any other factor; 

CONSIDERING that the Charter of the Organization of American States proclaims that the historic mission of the Americas is to offer to man a land of liberty and a favorable environment for the development of his personality and the realization of his just aspirations; 

REAFFIRMING the principles of universality, indivisibility, and interdependence of 
human rights; 
TAKING NOTE of the Declaration on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, presented to the United Nations General Assembly on December 18, 2008; and  
NOTING WITH CONCERN the acts of violence and related human rights violations as well as discrimination practiced against persons because of their sexual orientation and gender identity; 

RESOLVES: 
1. To condemn discrimination against persons by reason of their sexual orientation and gender identity, and to urge states, within the parameters of the legal institutions of their domestic systems, to adopt the necessary measures to prevent, punish, and eradicate such discrimination. 

2. To condemn acts of violence and human rights violations committed against persons because of their sexual orientation and gender identity; and to urge states to prevent and investigate these acts and violations and to ensure due judicial protection for victims on an equal footing and that the perpetrators are brought to justice. 

3. To encourage the member states to consider, within the parameters of the legal institutions of their domestic systems, adopting public policies against discrimination by reason of sexual orientation and gender identity.  

4. To urge states to ensure adequate protection for human rights defenders who work on the issue of acts of violence, discrimination, and human rights violations committed against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity. 

5. To request the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to pay particular attention to its work plan titled “Rights of LGTBI People” and, in keeping with its established practice, to prepare a hemispheric study on the subject; and to urge member states to participate in the report. 

6. To ask the IACHR and the Inter-American Juridical Committee each to prepare a study on the legal implications and conceptual and terminological developments as regards sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, and to instruct the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs to include on its agenda the examination of the results of the requested studies, with the participation of interested civil society organizations, before the forty-second regular session of the General Assembly. 

7. To request the Permanent Council to report to the General Assembly at its fortysecond regular session on the implementation of this resolution. Execution of the activities herein shall be subject to the availability of financial resources in the program-budget of the Organization and other resources

OAS LGBTTI Declaration-San Salvador-June 2011


DECLARATION OF THE COALICION OF LESBIANS, GAYS, BISEXUALS, TRAVESTI, TRANSEXUALS, TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX OF THE AMERICAS BEFORE THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE OAS. SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR, JUNE 5TH, 2011 

Mister Secretary General, Ministers, Members of the Official Delegations, Civil Society 
Representatives, 

We, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Travesti, Transsexual, Transgender and Intersex organizations, convened in San Salvador, El Salvador on June 2 and 3, 2011, in accordance with the directives established by the General Assembly of the OAS in its resolutions AG/RES.2092(XXXVO/05); CP/RES.759(1217/99); AG/RES.840(1361/03); AG/RES.1707(XXX-O/00) and AG/RES.1915(XXXIII-O/03), which determine a regulatory framework to enhance and strengthen civil society participation in OAS activities and in the Summit of the Americas process

We fully share the concern for ensuring that citizen security must concretely constitute the basis for full and sustainable development of human rights for every individual.  However, we express our concern as the draft  Declaration “Citizen Security in the Americas” focuses on issues related to organized crime rather than crimes experienced in daily life. The majority of killings, serious assaults, sexual abuses, and other crimes against the individual are the result of bias and vulnerability associated with gender violence; discrimination against afro-descendant and indigenous people; sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression; xenophobia; disability; migrants, displaced people and other vulnerable groups. 
Additionally, we express our concern for the lack of visibility we suffer by the omission of any reference to specific security needs of LGBTTTI people, despite being especially affected by the consequences of violence and crimes caused by homophobia, lesbophobia and, most of all, transphobia; contravening the content of the Resolutions 
“Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” adopted in 2008 (AG/RES. 2435 (XXXVIII-O/08), 2009 (AG/RES. 2435 (XXXVIII-O/08) and 2010 (AG/RES. 2600 (XL-O/10). Every year thousands of children and adolescents in the region are expelled from their homes because of their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. They are victims of attacks by State security organs as well as by non-state actors. They are excluded from education, access to dignifying work, health, social security, and the most elementary rights as citizens, particularly sexual and reproductive rights. 
The most serious concern relating to citizen security is the situation of transsexual, travesti, transgender men and women. Being particularly affected by stigma, deprived of the right to personal identity based on their social name and identity, without which the exercise of most rights are simply impossible; excluded from any public policy; carrying the huge risk of suffering the worst forms of social, economic and labour segregation. Located at the margin of any real opportunity, many of them find in prostitution the only means of survival, which aggravates the circle of marginalization and poverty, as well as a risk to personal security.  
Crimes committed against LGBTTTI people are made invisible in official data on criminality. Investigation authorities rarely complete their investigations. Courts of law are often carried away by bias that does not allow  access to a just and inclusive judgment, that occasionally is favorable to the perpetrator. The majority of victims prefer not to report crimes committed against them  because of fear of suffering harassment, maltreatment or institutional victimization.  
  
We applaud the significant progress in equality legislation, case law and regulations in several countries of the region in the last year. However, we are concerned that the same progress is not occurring in all countries simultaneously. At this point in almost all English speaking Caribbean countries same sex intimacy is still criminal. We denounce religious beliefs constantly interfering with human rights, which contributes to 
worsening issues of citizen security for LGBTTTI people.
We denounce that the process of negotiation of the Draft Inter-American Convention against Racism and all Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance is basically dormant, if not close to failure, which would mean losing the opportunity to address the issues mentioned above.  
We are concerned  that the implementation of policies that are aimed  at repressing criminality in society often have the effect of worsening the vulnerability situation of LGBTTTI people.  
Therefore we demand: 

To the Member States:  
1. To introduce in their laws clear norms to effectively criminalize hate crimes; to repeal laws that criminalize same sex intimacy; to  fight against discrimination in every area. 
2. To establish effective and speedy mechanisms for the integral recognition of legal identity of transexual, trangender, travesti and intersex individuals, based on their names and perceived gender identity, without need for genital surgery nor of pathological protocols.  
3. To implement adequate, integral and transversal public policies to fight stigma, exclusion and segregation of individuals on grounds of their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression; as well as ensure their effective protection from violence.  
4. To consider the proposal for an Inter-American Convention on Sexual Rights and Reproductive Rights. 
To the General Assembly: 
5. To approve the draft resolution CP/CJP-2951/11, Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity presented by the Brazilian delegation, whose initiative we fully endorse. 

We are not dangerous. We are in danger!
AG/RES. 2653 (XLI-O/11) 
HUMAN RIGHTS, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, AND 
GENDER IDENTITY 
(Adopted at the fourth plenary session, held on June 7, 2011) 
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 
TAKING INTO ACCOUNT resolutions AG/RES. 2435 (XXXVIII-O/08), AG/RES. 
2504 (XXXIX-O/09), and AG/RES. 2600 (XL-O/10), “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation, and 
Gender Identity”; 
REITERATING: 
That the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms that all human beings are born 
free and equal in dignity and rights and that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms 
set forth in that instrument, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, 
religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status; and
That the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man establishes that every 
human being has the right to life, liberty, and the security of his person without distinction as to 
race, sex, language, creed, or any other factor; 
CONSIDERING that the Charter of the Organization of American States proclaims that 
the historic mission of the Americas is to offer to man a land of liberty and a favorable 
environment for the development of his personality and the realization of his just aspirations; 6 
REAFFIRMING the principles of universality, indivisibility, and interdependence of 
human rights; 
TAKING NOTE of the Declaration on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, 
presented to the United Nations General Assembly on December 18, 2008; and  
NOTING WITH CONCERN the acts of violence and related human rights violations as 
well as discrimination practiced against persons because of their sexual orientation and gender 
identity; 
RESOLVES: 
1. To condemn discrimination against persons by reason of their sexual orientation 
and gender identity, and to urge states, within the parameters of the legal institutions of their 
domestic systems, to adopt the necessary measures to prevent, punish, and eradicate such 
discrimination. 
2. To condemn acts of violence and human rights violations committed against 
persons because of their sexual orientation and gender identity; and to urge states to prevent and 
investigate these acts and violations and to ensure due judicial protection for victims on an equal 
footing and that the perpetrators are brought to justice. 
3. To encourage the member states to consider, within the parameters of the legal 
institutions of their domestic systems, adopting public policies against discrimination by reason 
of sexual orientation and gender identity.  
4. To urge states to ensure adequate protection for human rights defenders who 
work on the issue of acts of violence, discrimination, and human rights violations committed 
against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity. 
5. To request the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to pay 
particular attention to its work plan titled “Rights of LGTBI People” and, in keeping with its 
established practice, to prepare a hemispheric study on the subject; and to urge member states to 
participate in the report. 
6. To ask the IACHR and the Inter-American Juridical Committee each to prepare 
a study on the legal implications and conceptual and terminological developments as regards 
sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, and to instruct the Committee on 
Juridical and Political Affairs to include on its agenda the examination of the results of the 
requested studies, with the participation of interested civil society organizations, before the 
forty-second regular session of the General Assembly. 
7. To request the Permanent Council to report to the General Assembly at its fortysecond regular session on the implementation of this resolution. Execution of the activities 
herein shall be subject to the availability of financial resources in the program-budget of the 
Organization and other resources

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bigotry In Belize

Through facebook at a meeting in El Salvador for the OAS, I learnt that the there was a motorcade of 20 cars, with signs etc against homosexuality and UniBAM. This was captured on Channel 7 news with the following:

Amin Hegar, Aspirant for Std. Bearer"I don't care who supports other candidates. All I care is that the people of Belmopan care about me and care about their future - the one Christian person who believes in God and that is most important."
Jules Vasquez
"We know that Ms. Shoman have filed some papers on behalf of UNIBAM. Has that been an issue in your campaign? Have you made it an issue?"
Amin Hegar, Aspirant for Std. Bearer
"That has not been an issue in my campaign, it has been an issue in Lisa's campaign to be frankly."
Jules Vasquez
"Have you exploited it?"
Amin Hegar, Aspirant for Std. Bearer
"I have never exploited that. The churches probably have. Yesterday we had the big protest that was against UNIBAM, if it hurts any candidate - that's their problem. It doesn't hurt me because I am not for that. I am a Christian." source http://www.7newsbelize.com/sstory.php?nid=19810&frmsrch=1

Beyond this, the facebook conversation shared,  that the speakers were estimating that  if 200 Families donate $100, they would have a legal fund for a lawyer. The group had signs against homosexuality etc. int heir motorcade of 20 cars. This was done in the Capital City, Belmopan. While the march was happening one young man shared how he had a cuzing match because of a bigot.  On top of this, we know Pastor Stirm sought to organize the Evangelical Pastors on May 2nd, 2010 at Calverio Church, in the Cayo district. Pastor Stirm, we were told, was asking for Prays or Funds. Most pastors could only offer prays and their programs where stretched for funds. We know that Plus TV has been a staunch opponent in this case, faning the flames of hate and intolerance for the month of May looking at 'The legal Arguements, The religious arguements and psychological arguements etc. On top of this, we know the churches had planned meetings on June 2nd, 2011 at the Nazerene Church in Belize City. We know that they will use a poster child of Reparative Therapy. Simply put, a gay man who gone straight. We know that they will sell fearmongering as the keep message and will advance the Press Release that they have gotten published in the Amandala and Reporter. We know that they have discussed the possible protest of the case when it goes  to court trial hearings.

Aint this good news?

OAS LGBTTI Declaration- El Salvador

DECLARATION OF THE COALICION OF LESBIANS, GAYS, BISEXUALS, TRAVESTI, TRANSEXUALS, TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX OF THE AMERICAS BEFORE THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE OAS.
SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR, JUNE 5TH, 2011

Mister Secretary General, Ministers, Members of the Official Delegations, Civil Society Representatives,

We, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Travesti, Transsexual, Transgender and Intersex organizations, convened in San Salvador, El Salvador on June 2 and 3, 2011, in accordance with the directives established by the General Assembly of the OAS in its resolutions AG/RES.2092(XXXV-O/05); CP/RES.759(1217/99); AG/RES.840(1361/03); AG/RES.1707(XXX-O/00) and AG/RES.1915(XXXIII-O/03), which determine a regulatory framework to enhance and strengthen civil society participation in OAS activities and in the Summit of the Americas process

We fully share the concern for ensuring that citizen security must concretely constitute the basis for full and sustainable development of human rights for every individual.

However, we express our concern as the draft Declaration “Citizen Security in the Americas” focuses on issues related to organized crime rather than crimes experienced in daily life. The majority of killings, serious assaults, sexual abuses, and other crimes against the individual are the result of bias and vulnerability associated with gender violence; discrimination against afrodescendant and indigenous people; sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression; xenophobia; disability; migrants, displaced people and other vulnerable groups.

Additionally, we express our concern for the lack of visibility we suffer by the omission of any reference to specific security needs of LGBTTTI people, despite being especially affected by the consequences of violence and crimes caused by homophobia, lesbophobia and, most of all, transphobia; contravening the content of the Resolutions “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” adopted in 2008 (AG/RES. 2435 (XXXVIII-O/08), 2009 (AG/RES. 2435 (XXXVIII-O/08) and 2010 (AG/RES. 2600 (XL-O/10).

Every year thousands of children and adolescents in the region are expelled from their homes because of their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. They are victims of attacks by State security organs as well as by non state actors. They are excluded from education, access to dignifying work, health, social security, and the most elementary rights as citizens, particularly sexual and reproductive rights.

The most serious concern relating to citizen security is the situation of transsexual, travesti, transgender men and women. Being particularly affected by stigma, deprived of the right to personal identity based on their social name and identity, without which the exercise of most rights are simply impossible; excluded from any public policy; carrying the huge risk of suffering the worst forms of social, economic and labour segregation. Located at the margin of any real opportunity, many of them find in prostitution the only means of survival, which aggravates the circle of marginalization and poverty, as well as a risk to personal security.

Crimes committed against LGBTTTI people are made invisible in official data on criminality. Investigation authorities rarely complete their investigations. Courts of law are often carried away by bias that does not allow access to a just and inclusive judgment, that occasionally is favorable to the perpetrator. The majority of victims prefer not to report crimes committed against them because of fear of suffering harassment, maltreatment or institutional victimization.

We applaud the significant progress in equality legislation, case law and regulations in several countries of the region in the last year. However, we are concerned that the same progress is not occurring in all countries simultaneously. At this point in almost all English speaking Caribbean countries same sex intimacy is still criminal. We denounce religious beliefs constantly interfering with human rights, which contributes to worsening issues of citizen security for LGBTTTI people.

We denounce that the process of negotiation of the Draft Interamerican Convention against Racism and all Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance is basically dormant, if not close to failure, which would mean losing the opportunity to address the issues mentioned above.

We are concerned that the implementation of policies that are aimed at repressing criminality in society often have the effect of worsening the vulnerability situation of LGBTTTI people.

Therefore we demand:

To the Member States:
1.      To introduce in their laws clear norms to effectively criminalize hate crimes; to repeal laws that criminalize same sex intimacy; to fight against discrimination in every area.
2.      To establish effective and speedy mechanisms for the integral recognition of legal identity of transexual, trangender, travesti and intersex individuals, based on their names and perceived gender identity, without need for genital surgery nor of pathological protocols.
3.      To implement adequate, integral and transversal public policies to fight stigma, exclusion and segregation of individuals on grounds of their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression; as well as ensure their effective protection from violence.
To the General Assembly:
4.      To approve the draft resolution CP/CJP-2951/11, Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity presented by the Brazilian delegation, whose initiative we fully endorse.

We are not dangerous. We are in danger.
Participants who were part of the Coalition is as follows:
AIREANA - Camila Zabala – Paraguay, ASOCIACIÓN LIDERES EN ACCION -Germán Rincón Perfetti - Colombia, ASPIDH ARCO IRIS – Mónica Hernández – El Salvador, COALITION ADVOCATING FOR INCLUSION OF SEXUAL ORIENTATION – Kareem Griffith – Trinidad and Tobago, COLECTIVA MUJER y SALUD, Julie Betances - República Dominicana, COLECTIVO OVEJAS NEGRAS – Valeria Rubino – Uruguay, COLECTIVO UNIDAD COLOR ROSA – Roxana
Almendarez – Honduras, COLOMBIA DIVERSA – Marcela Sánchez – Colombia, CORPORACIÓN PROMOCIÓN DE LA MUJER, Tania Correa - Ecuador, DIVERLEX – Tamara Adrián – Venezuela,DOMINICA CHAP – Daryl Phillip – Dominica, FRONTE TRANS – Mario Sánchez Pérez –Mexico, INSTITUTO RUNA – Belissa Andia – Perú, INTERNATIONAL GAY AND LESBIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION LAC – Marcelo Ferreyra – Argentina, J-FLAG – Jaevion Nelson
– Jamaica, AIDS FREE WORLD - Maurice Tomlinson – Jamaica, MULABI-ARGENTINA –Fernando D’Elio – Argentina, MULABI-COSTA RICA – Natasha Jiménez – Costa Rica,ORGANIZACIÓN DE TRANSEXUALES POR LA DIGNIDAD DE LA DIVERSIDAD – Andrés RiveraDuarte – Chile, ORGANIZACIÓN TRANS REINAS DE LA NOCHE – Johana Ramírez –
Guatemala, RED AFRO LGBTI - Edmilson Medeiros - BRASIL, RED LATINOAMERICANA Y DEL CARIBE DE PERSONAS TRANS - Marcela Romero- Argentina, RED NICARAGUENSE DE ACTIVISTAS TRANS – Silvia Martínez – Nicaragua, SOCIETY AGAINST SEXUAL ORIENTATION DISCRIMINATION- Jermaine Grant - Guyana, UNIBAM – Caleb Orozco – Belice, UNITED GAYS & LESBIANS AGAINST AIDS BARBADOS - Emerson Emmanuel – Barbados.
Partner de la Coalition Stefano Fabeni – Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights

Posted: San Salvador, 8 de junio de 2011

OAS LGBTTTI Coalition Release-2011



THE COALITION OF LGBTTTI ORGANIZATIONS FROM 21 LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN COUNTRIES WITNESSING THE APPROVAL OF THE FOURTH RESOLUTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND GENDER IDENTITY
The Coalition of LGBTTTI Latin American and Caribbean organizations, formed by groups belonging to more than 20 countries expresses in this communiqué its assessment of the activities of the 41st General Assembly of the Organization of American States, which took place in San Salvador on June 5th-7th, 2011.
This Assembly adopted the fourth resolution AG/RES.  2653 (XLI-O/11) “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity”, showing the increasing attention to our situation and the need of encouraging member states to commit to taking action to fight human rights violations against our communities. The mentioned resolution, which is the result of the advocacy of the coalition, makes progress towards the realization of an hemispheric thematic study. It also highlights the need for member states to implement public policies
against discrimination of LGBTTTI people, calling on the States to investigate, record, and punish hate crimes against our population.
We are pleased for the possible reinvigoration of the negotiation process of the draft Inter American Convention against Racism and all Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance. However, we are concerned that, on the very occasion of the Assembly, whose theme was “Citizen Security in the Americas,” the opportunity to advance in the construction of an instrument that would contribute to challenging the structural causes of violence has been lost by opening the door to the possibility of dividing the draft Convention in one
main text, and one or more additional protocols (which would strengthen the idea of the existence of a hierarchy among forms of discrimination). We recognize, in any event, that advancing the discussion on racism would be in itself a fundamental achievement that would improve the quality of life for all.
With reference to the Declaration of San Salvador, we are concerned that it focuses on issues related to organized crimes and not on day-to-day security. The majority of killings, serious assaults, sexual abuses, and other crimes against the individual are the result of bias and vulnerability associated with gender violence; discrimination against afro-descendant and indigenous people; sexual orientation, gender identity and gender
expression; xenophobia; disability; migrants, displaced people and other vulnerable
groups.
Additionally, we express our concern for the lack of visibility we suffer by the omission of any reference to specific security needs of LGBTTTI people, despite being especially affected by the consequences of violence and crimes caused by homophobia, lesbophobia and, most of all, transphobia. These concerns were raised in our intervention during the dialogue between the civil society and the heads of delegations of member states.
We report the election to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of Felipe González, Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, Tracy Robinson and Rosa Maria Ortiz. The election of Rosa Maria Ortiz and Tracy Robinson is an honor for the Coalition; women of great value for their well-known commitment and expertise in human rights, and whose candidatures the Coalition have supported vigorously through our ministries of foreign affairs.
Finally, we want to highlight a fundamental concern for civil society, related to the attempt by some member states and OAS organs to weaken the scope of work of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
About the Coalition’s activities.
Beyond the resolution that has been formally adopted, the Coalition celebrates the consolidation of its space as civil society component after four years of advocacy work within the OAS and in the region, before, during and after the General Assemblies.

In the days that preceded the 41st General Assembly, the Coalition organized a two-day parallel event in preparation for the advocacy and  participation within the OAS. Our main discussion topics were: (a) implementation of the resolution “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity”; (b) Interaction with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (with specific focus on thematic hearings); (c) Interaction with the Commission on Juridical and Political Affairs; (d) Advocacy in the negotiation process of the draft Convention against Racism and All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance; (e) Advocacy with member states.
During the two days, invited participants included  Irene Klinger, director of the Department of International Relations of the OAS, who highlighted the importance of the commitment of the LGBTTTI civil society in all processes of the OAS and the increasing visibility of the issue within the OAS, particularly with reference to the Hemispheric Forum.
The Coalition met  the First Lady of El Salvador and Secretary for Social Inclusion Vanda Guiomar Pignato, who spoke about the need that societies make progress in regard to the inclusion and the respect for all forms of diversity and greeted the Coalition for its presence within the OAS.
Finally,  Edgar Carrasco  and Herbert Betancourt from UNAIDS, and Maria Tallarico from UNDP also attended the workshop. During the informal dialogue with the Secretary General of the OAS and the civil society in San Salvador, four delegates of the LGBTTTI coalition addressed to Secretary General José
Miguel Insulza their concerns regarding the undue influence of religion on states and the weakening of the principle of secularity, violence and discrimination that LGBTTTI individuals suffers within their own families, hate crimes and  the need of recognition of self-perceived identity for travesti, transgender, transsexual and intersex people.

Mr. Insulza confirmed the OAS commitment to fight for recognition of the rights of LGBTTTI individuals and expressed his concern for the lack  of progress of the draft Inter American Convention against Racism and all Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance, partially due to the criminalization of same-sex intimacy in several Caribbean countries. He also indicated that some countries still have official religions,  statement that would suggest that official religions are an obstacle to the introduction of protective policies, as religions would be
prioritized over human rights protection.
The Coalition also met  Arturo Valenzuela, Assistant Secretary of State of  the Government of the United States, and Paula Uribe, Senior Advisor of the Department of State of the United States, who were accompanied by a delegation from the U.S. embassy to El Salvador; the  first secretary of the Mission of Canada before the OAS Douglas Janoff and  Danilo Gonzalez Ramirez, Minister Counselor of the  Mission of
Costa Rica before the OAS and Chair of the Working Group in charge of drafting the  draft Inter American Convention against Racism and all Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance were also present at the meeting. The discussion focused on the commitment of
the U.S. Department of State to support LGBTTTI human rights in the region and the progress in the discussion on the Convention.  Later on, the Coalition met Víctor Madrigal Principal Specialist of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, who explained the working plan to draft a hemispheric
report on the situation of human rights of LGBTTTI people, the success of which will depend on the participation of the organizations of the region that will provide continuous information to the Commission.  
The Coalition also met Lionel Veer, Ambassador for Human Rights of the Netherlands, who expressed his support and availability to strengthen civil society organizations and highlighted the need of establishing a dialogue between the ministries of foreign affairs and the IACHR. We welcome the increasing interest for the work of  the coalition that constitutes an acknowledgment of the work carried out in these years.

We thank  Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, UNAIDS, UNDP, and Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights for their support to make our participation to this General Assembly possible.
The participants of the Coalition of LGBTTTI Organizations of Latin America and the Caribbean within the OAS were:
AIREANA - Camila Zabala – Paraguay, ASOCIACIÓN LIDERES EN ACCION -Germán Rincón
Perfetti - Colombia, ASPIDH ARCO IRIS – Mónica Hernández – El Salvador, COALITION
ADVOCATING FOR INCLUSION OF SEXUAL ORIENTATION – Kareem Griffith – Trinidad and
Tobago, COLECTIVA MUJER y SALUD, Julie Betances – Dominican Republic, COLECTIVO
OVEJAS NEGRAS – Valeria Rubino – Uruguay, COLECTIVO UNIDAD COLOR ROSA – Roxana
Almendarez – Honduras, COLOMBIA DIVERSA – Marcela Sánchez – Colombia, CORPORACIÓN
PROMOCIÓN DE LA MUJER, Tania Correa - Ecuador, DIVERLEX – Tamara Adrián – Venezuela,
DOMINICA CHAP – Daryl Phillip – Dominica,  FRONTE TRANS – Mario Sánchez Pérez –
Mexico, INSTITUTO RUNA – Belissa Andia – Perú, INTERNATIONAL GAY AND LESBIAN
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION LAC – Marcelo Ferreyra – Argentina, J-FLAG – Jaevion Nelson
– Jamaica, AIDS FREE WORLD - Maurice Tomlinson – Jamaica, MULABI-ARGENTINA –
Fernando D’Elio – Argentina, MULABI-COSTA RICA – Natasha Jiménez – Costa Rica,
ORGANIZACIÓN DE TRANSEXUALES POR LA DIGNIDAD DE LA DIVERSIDAD – Andrés Rivera
Duarte – Chile, ORGANIZACIÓN TRANS REINAS DE LA NOCHE  – Johana Ramírez –
Guatemala, RED AFRO LGBTI - Edmilson Medeiros - Brazil, RED LATINOAMERICANA Y DEL
CARIBE DE PERSONAS TRANS - Marcela Romero- Argentina, RED NICARAGUENSE DE
ACTIVISTAS TRANS – Silvia Martínez – Nicaragua, SOCIETY AGAINST SEXUAL ORIENTATION
DISCRIMINATION- Jermaine Grant - Guyana, UNIBAM – Caleb Orozco – Belize, BARBADOS
HIV/AIDS ALLIANCE -  Emerson Emmanuel – Barbados.
As Coalition partner: Stefano Fabeni – Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human
Rights

Action at the OAS 2011-Salvador

 A coalition of LGBT Caribbean Activists attempted to sensitize Caribbean Delegates about the human rights concerns in the Caribbean For the first time, as  part of a region wide strategy that builds support with the larger LAC regions as a whole, declaration on LGBTTI concerns. The Caribbean sought to distribute talking points to Caribbean leaders. Beyond that, our focus was to evaluate who CARICOM countries would vote for in Latin America for the Inter-American Human Rights Court.On top of this, a LGBT resolution that advance the political recognition that LGBT Human Rights . The third, is a resolution, that speaks to a convention on racism and intolerance. With that said this is the back ground.

1). No less than the Holy See Representative have been trying to railroad the resolution on sexual oreintation and gender identity, so we stayed and monitored the situation to ensure that there was not a vote to open the negotiations.

2). The Holy See rep representative (Vatican Rep) sought an audience with our OAS ambassador and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. I politely but firmly said after the conversation the following: " Minister did we lose the consitution to the bible yet? I fear all across the region that the bible is replacing countries constitution." To which he replied "No man!, but everybody has a right to expression!" To which I said" that  reassuring," "agreed, good to know."

3). We learnt that the Vatican was here to derail the LGBT resolution and that he was focusing on traditional catholic leaders to derail the voting process tommorrow. What the rep want is to have a footnote in the resolution to clarify gender idenity as a man and women. This would be bad because it would render trans people invisible and their plight would not be visible, so there would be no obligation at the OAS to investigate.It also important for us because it allows us to hold our government accountable in the court of public opinion and law. As wehave used one of the resolutions as evidence.

4). We learnt is that Belize cosponsored a move to split the Draft convention on Racism , discrimination and all other forms of intolerance to have a main document on Racisim and discrimination and several other protocols. This change derails 10years of negotiations. The LGBTTI coalition sees it as a tactical move to render invisible the issue of sexual oreintation and gender identity, never mind there are issues on discrimination based on health, women etc. In essence, the decision, sobotages the process, allowing CARICOM countries to abscond from their human rights committment in the region. What this means is that CARICOM cannot sign a convention that include sexual oreintation and gender identity because its binding on them. I was told that the split was an adminstrative concern, because it was stuck after 10 years, but the issue was that CARICOM made it stuck.

5). There is going to be a decision to elect two candidates for the Inter-American Commission which we love as we see them as potential friends to advance LGBT rights in the region.

6) We spoke to the Senior Advisor to the Under-secretary  of  the Western Hemisphere Auturo Valenzuela, Poala Uribe about how the state department can advance the human right of the LGBT population in the region. We spoke about the need for s Special Rappatuer that works and the need for the US government to not sobotage or undermine LGBT Rights in the Caribbean by negotiating those rights away for other US prioriies.