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#429237 - 02/01/12 08:28 AM Rainbow wristbands call for gay rights in Belize
Marty Offline
Human rights group UNIBAM's 'We are one' wristband campaign part of push to legalize gay sex in Belize

Activists have launched a rainbow-colored wristband campaigning for the legalization of gay sex in Belize.

The United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) is calling on the Central American country's Supreme Court to repeal a law that bans same-sex relationships.

The group argues section 53 of the criminal code, which outlaws 'carnal intercourse against the order of nature', violates citizens' constitutional right to privacy and dignity.

A wristband with the slogan ‘We are one in dignity and rights’ was launched on Friday in an effort to garner public support for the campaign.

Speaking to Belize’s Channel 5 News, UNIBAM president Caleb Orosco said: ‘The context of the campaign is related to our need to address some of the vile and flammatory language that has been used in the media for the past year and a half.

‘It is to remind people that as individual human beings, individual dignity and rights do not change.

‘We may disagree with many, many things, but we all have the same expectations about the treatment of dignity and rights.’

UNIBAM’s challenge had its first day in the Supreme Court yesterday with Orosco and his legal team facing opposition from members of the Church.

Channel 7 News reported the fierce debate between the two sides lasted until 4.40pm with the judge, Justice Michelle Arana, saying she will return a verdict at a later date to be announced.

Attorney Lisa Shoman represented UNIBAM in the Supreme Court and told Channel 5 News the legal challenge is about freedom and human rights.

She said: ‘It is not about whether you are gay, it’s not about whether you are bi, it’s not whether you are transgendered.

‘It is whether you are a Belizean person and you deserve to enjoy the fundamental rights and freedoms which are guaranteed in the constitution.’


#429536 - 02/04/12 10:21 AM Re: Rainbow wristbands call for gay rights in Belize [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Caribbean Seminar Series: Decriminalising Homosexuality in the Caribbean (The Belize Case)

As part of the Caribbean Seminar Series of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, Godfrey P. Smith, former Attorney-General of Belize, will present the seminar “Decriminalising Homosexuality in the Caribbean: The Belize Case in Commonwealth Perspective and Beyond.” Mr. Smith is part of the legal team representing the Human Dignity Trust and the Commonwealth Lawyers Association. His presentation on the Belize case and its implications will be followed by an informal question and answer session. This event will take place on February 3, 2012, 5:00-7:00pm, at the University of London in Room 264, Senate House (second floor) in London, UK.

Description: The criminalisation of homosexual acts is currently being challenged in the Central American and Caribbean nation of Belize. The United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) has mounted a legal challenge to Section 53 of the Belize Criminal Code which currently criminalises consensual intercourse between adult males. While UNIBAM argues that this provision represents a violation of constitutional rights, the Belize Action Movement (an alliance of churches) has joined the case to oppose any changes to the law.

The implications of the Belize case are international in dimension. First it is being seen as a test case for the Commonwealth Caribbean where, with few exceptions, homosexual acts are still criminalised, and gays, lesbians and trans-sexuals face intense discrimination. Secondly the legal challenge mounted by UNIBAM in Belize has attracted support from international organisations including the Human Dignity Trust and the Commonwealth Lawyers Association – prompting accusations of ‘foreign intervention’ from opponents of the campaign. Thirdly, the Belize case is unfolding against a backdrop in which donor nations such as Britain and the United States have begun to press for changes in discriminatory legislation as a condition of aid. David Cameron’s recent suggestion that Commonwealth nations should decriminalise homosexuality as a condition of aid has been vigorously rejected by a number of African nations. This seminar will consider the Belize case in local, regional and international context and its implications for the decriminalisation debate.

For more information, see http://americas.sas.ac.uk/events/eventdetails.html?id=11492

Godfrey P. Smith is an attorney-at-law and holds an M.A. from Harvard’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. At 31 he became the youngest Attorney General of Belize in 1999 and in 2003 became the youngest Foreign Minister to be appointed at age 35. He has also served as Foreign Trade Minister, Minister of Defence, Minister of Information and Minister of Tourism. In 2005 Godfrey Smith was elected a Deputy Leader of the People’s United Party. He is the founding editor of the Belize Law Reports, the Belize Law Review and the Belize Foreign Policy Yearbook and is the editor of Belize, a Caribbean nation in Central America: Selected Speeches of Said Musa.



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