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Conference of Heads of Government in Saint Lucia
Caribbean Civil Societies Urges CARICOM To implement OAS’s S.O.G.I Human Rights Resolution

in TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, 06/07/2012

As the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders participate in the Thirty-Third Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government in Saint Lucia on Wednesday, 4 July, 2012 under the Chairmanship of the Dr. the Hon. Kenny D. Anthony, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia citizens are holding them accountable for their responsibilities.

As the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders participate in the Thirty-Third Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government in Saint Lucia on Wednesday, 4 July, 2012 under the Chairmanship of the Dr. the Hon. Kenny D. Anthony, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia citizens are holding them accountable for their responsibilities.

Caribbean civil societies in the region including CariFLAGS (Caribbean Forum for Liberation and Acceptance of Genders and Sexualities), CVC (Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition) are joined by several other NGOs in their request to urge leaders to upheld their commitments to the recently amended Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI).

The resolution that has been upheld by every Caribbean state has been recently amend in it’s statutes to include:
“To urge the member states that have not yet done so to consider signing, ratifying, or acceding to, as the case may be, the inter-American human rights instruments.”
“To encourage 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.”

Organization of American States (OAS), General Assembly Resolution, AG/doc.5265/12, June 3 to 5, 2012

“One has to wonder how committed our leaders are, when the region is so underdeveloped in terms of human rights. Human rights protections are part of citizen security. We live in countries in the hemisphere where the state’s local protective mechanisms are the weakest and indicators of inequality, like access to justice and HIV rates, are the worst. And our citizens don’t enjoy recourse to regional bodies when our local protections fail,”

Joel Simpson, Guyana’s SASOD.

The advocates also protest CARICOM’s marginalization of civil society participation in regional governance and demand a greater voice in their contributing to the future of the Caribbean. It was noted that PANCAP (the Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS), is one of the few regional mechanisms that has genuinely sought to include civil society in its governance.

“CARICOM doesn’t yet have the simplest structures for routine civil society participation, unlike most other regional institutions,”

Colin Robinson, CariFLAGS.

The OAS resolution also specifies considerations and policies to take regarding acts of violence and human rights violations committed against persons by reason of their sexual orientation and gender identity, discrimination against persons, urge the states within the parameters of the legal institutions of their domestic systems to eliminate, where they exist, barriers faced by lesbians, gays, and bisexual, transsexual, and intersex (LGBTI) persons in access to political participation and in other areas of public life as well as 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

Recently St. Kitts-Nevis Prime Minister Denzil Douglas just last week endorsed a new complementarity in mission between the new Caribbean Public Health Agency and PANCAP, with the latter sharpening its focus on human rights, vulnerability and social justice.

Trinidad and Tobago can take the advantage and enact on their obligations with their upcoming opportunity to include sexual orientation and gender identity onto the Equal Opportunity Bill as well as making considerations in The Gender Policy (both bills are yet to be debated in parliament).

At present the twin island republic holds account to multiple post-colonial laws that prohibits homosexuals in the immigration act, buggery prohibitions between same-sex consensual activity in the Sexual Offences Act, as well as specifically excluding sexual orientation from being used as a discriminatory claim in the Equal Opportunity Act, 2000.

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