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We proudly congratulate the Government for distinguishing itself among its Caribbean peers in embracing issues of sexual rights, sexual orientation and gender identity at UPR—in particular:
- taking bold public steps since the Working Group to address marriage of minors
- recognizing that we are a diverse national community with “new and emerging” human rights issues which require state intervention and protection
- expressing commitment, fitting for this session of the Council, that “discrimination based on sexual orientation…remains a matter of concern in the forefront of the minds of the Government” and explicit recognition that the human rights of all citizens includes the LGBT community.
Excellencies: my nation has declared an intention to be a Caribbean leader in addressing the changing needs of its population. Such leadership requires more than language; it necessitates action – and deserves support. Commitments to human rights make little difference to lived lives of people unless enshrined in legislation, policy and practice.
I therefore appeal to the Council to extend Trinidad and Tobago continued support:
- to commence forthwith the nationwide human rights awareness campaign announced in October
- to move swiftly to ensure establishment of a functioning national human rights institution compliant with the Paris Principles (as referenced in Recommendations 88.25 to 88.30)
and ask the Government:
In implementing recommendations 87.23 and 88.51, will they ensure that legislation (introduced since the October Working Group) to amend the Equal Opportunity Act of 2000 includes protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation which. will they ensure that legislation (introduced since the October Working Group) to amend the Equal Opportunity Act of 2000 includes protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation. As Germany (and previously three UN treaty reviews2) have noted, the current statute explicitly excludes such protection.
In building a nation that respects and protects the human rights of all, the Council – and of course the Government – is assured of our organizations’ enduring partnership. Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this process on behalf of civil society in Trinidad and Tobago.