Thursday, July 26, 2012

Institutional homophobia

Posted July 25th, 2012

When we speak about institutional homophobia in Belize, it normally not understood. Its a concept the represents a structural problem in Belize that impacts rights advancement. The National AIDS Commission was asked, for example, to vote on the United Belize Advocacy Movement request to issue a statement of support, but the vote came back  9 for, 2 abstentions and 8 no's .The resistance can be argued as both rational and passive agressive response to not wanting to rock the boat in the system. Yet, the Universal Periodic Review of 2009 speaks to the NAC as an interim Human Rights Institution. Does this mean it fell short of its role? I will leave the reader to draw its own conclusion.

One can argue that because of the section 53 challenge, CEO in Ministries  would not be able to support any public statements to support the human rights needs of the men who have sex with men population. but, what have they been doing the last 10 years? When a reference is made to the Universal Periodic Review  addendum of 2009  that government of Belize believes it does not have a political mandate, and L.G.B.T citizens are ignored. Despite the fact, that the fundmental rights in the constitution exists and acknowledge ment of the human rights of all its citizens  is known, it seems lost on policymakers that its the constitution that guides a democracy, not religion or vote. The response to recommendation nine below sums up government position about needing a  mandate.

 Recommendation 9:
To take appropriate legislative measures in order to ensure that no person can be subject to criminal sanctions for same-sex activitybetween consenting adults

Government Reponse:9. The Government of Belize has considered this recommendation and is of the view that any legislative changes in this regard would require extensive national consultations given the nature of the issues involved. The Government does not yet have a mandate to effect these changes

It amazes me that the idea of protecting a minority basic rights requires a political mandate. It amazes me that international instruments signed by government has insufficiently translation into the everyday lives of Belizeans. Here is a young man speaking up for the first time, who addresses his need for dignity and right when he is experiencing homophobia on the ground. What do we tell the next generation of L.G.B.T persons in Belize?
While they access the education system, pay taxes, run businesses and contribute to the overall development of the country.





As we have learned with our national dialogue, L.G.B.T issues impacts the family relationship. It is a mothers issues, it is a fathers issue. Mothers are affected by street violence whether it is a son or daughter killed on the street. It is time we address the issue of the model anti-discrimination legislation from CARICOM in a way that impacts citizens lives now, not in a decade. The Universal Declaration of human rights speaks to the dignity and rights of all, not just some. Our work we believe has a multiplier effect and demands, not asks that rights-enforcement be addressed properly once and for all. And so we agitate for action and recognition. the gathering we had for the dialogue on July, 24th, 2012 is just a start of what we hope is a longer strategy for legislative reform. As a point, we present the star of our work a mother, expressing support for her son below:
















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