Thursday, May 17, 2012

Belize IDAHO Actions, May 17th, 2012

As part of our Social Media Advocacy Work for IDAHO a couple of our  supporters taped their mouths to protest the Silence of Homophobia in Belize on May 17th, 2012.


A Page for IDAHO was set up with 55 persons accepting the challenge to commemorate May 17th, 2012. See link for information...

As we recognized the need to increase visibility around homophobia a call was made to have supporters in Belize Change their status to IDAHO. This message below was circulated to supporters we also got right wing thinker Luis Wade to encourage people to post Corinthians 6:9-11 on his PLUSTV rise and shine.

Homophobia manifests itself in Belize in many ways, ranging from very subtle to violent and deadly. Discrimination in the workplace or at school, bullying, disownment by family, violent attacks, and most tragically even homicides DO occur in Belize as a direct result of homophobia.

On May 17th I will be making a simple statement to show my support to wipe out homophobia in Belize. On this day I will change my facebook status to include the word IDAHO. This is the acronym for the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia.

Belize is a country of people of diverse beliefs and opinions. However, I believe we as a nation stand against ALL forms of discrimination, especially any discrimination that leads to violence or puts our Belizean brothers and sisters at risk.

I am asking you to join me on May 17th to put the word IDAHO on your facebook status to show Belize that you are concerned about homophobia. I am not asking you to support gay rights, or gay marriage, or make a faith based statement about homosexuality. We are all entitled to our own personal beliefs, but as Belizeans I hope we all agree that discrimination in any form has no place in a free and just society.

Finally, please share this message with your friends so they may also join us in standing up against homophobia on Thursday, May 17.
Beyond this we scheduled a dinner for 12:00 to 2:00 to discuss the concept of IDAHO an email  was sent to Ministry's of Health, Education and Human Development to raise awareness about the day and a press release was issued for the day as well.
 This day has become important to the United Belize Advocacy Movement as we have experienced homophobia in the media, in education in access to justice.
 Dignity and rights are at the heart of commonwealth principles, recognized in the Belizean constitution, and acknowledged in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Yet dignity and rights are allowed to be eroded because of concerns to protect political currency. Homophobia exists as individual actions, but can be reflected in institutional indifference. For example, when the former ombudsman man said on May 15th, 2012 on Lovefm news"   If a gay person can claim a right, then so can the rapist, so can the paedophile, so can the incestuous man or woman,"  and there is no institutional response, it becomes telling of the institutional value for upholding dignity and rights for all. In a statement at the High Level meeting in New York on June 9th, 201,  Health Minister Marin can be quoted from his statement the following:

…HIV must now be seen in the context of a chronic disease; in the context of a broader multi-sectoral response, in a context free of stigma and discrimination; in essence in the context of the respect of human rights and the right to health…
The political Declaration on HIV/AIDS 2011 spoke to the need to address MDG goals specifically 6. It noted the following:

29. Note that many national HIV prevention strategies inadequately focus on populations that epidemiological evidence shows are at higher risk, specifically men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs and sex workers, and further note however that each country should define the specific populations that are key to its epidemic and response, based on the epidemiological and national context;

    Further commitments and acknowledgements of the highest level of health education can be found in the Mexico Declaration, 1st meeting of Ministers in Health and Education to Stop HIV/AIDS in Latin America and The Caribbean in 2008 affirm in its declaration the following:
Affirm our commitment to the right to the highest possible level of health, education, non-discrimination and well-being of current and future generations.

As the Day of IDAHO passes on May 17th, 2012,the question is ask to all, are the right things being done to upholding the dignity and rights of all citizens or is the a process  influenced by indifference, fear and self-preservation? If the answer is influenced by indifference, then the advancement of homophobia is easily institutionalized in watered down documents and mechanisms. Let us reflect in the coming years if dignity and rights will be eroded by homophobia or upheld by the ideals of article one that all human being are create equal in dignity and rights.   
IDAHO 2012


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