Belize - Belize News - Channel5Belize.com - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Miscellaneous, People & Places, Social Issues » Legislation to Address Hate Crime on the Drawing Board
Mar 7, 2019

Legislation to Address Hate Crime on the Drawing Board

There are no official records on hate crime, but acts of violence and hostility against individuals and groups are known to occur.  In fact, just about anyone is vulnerable.  Policy makers and other stakeholders are partnering to draft legislation on the topic. Modules of enabling legislation in other countries of the Commonwealth offer insights on what can be adapted to suit the local needs. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

A Hate Crime typically involves violence that is motivated by prejudice on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation, or other grounds. The perpetrator often times targets a victim because of his or her membership in a certain social group. In Belize, there are cases where members of the LGBTI community are targeted as well as other vulnerable populations, including older persons and people living with disabilities. But there is no anti-discrimination legislation in place to address these issues that are happening daily.

 

Grazia Careccia

Grazia Careccia, Programme Manager, Legislative Reform

“This matter that is being dealt with not necessarily only as an individual right, but more as a collective right. So we are not looking at creating more crimes. Most of the violations that we are looking at already exist in the book…so assault and other crimes. So we are just looking at enabling the legislation to give space for those who are suffering from hate crimes to report.”

 

Today, various stakeholders and members of vulnerable groups converged at the Biltmore Plaza for a HATE CRIME Forum. Organized by the Office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children and the National AIDS Commission, the discussion brought together experts from human rights activists to the judiciary and drafters to begin the process of establishing that key piece of legislation.

 

Kim Simplis Barrow

Kim Simplis Barrow, Special Envoy for Women and Children

“Just recently cabinet approved a cabinet paper that my office along with National AIDS Commission submitted for the drafting of the anti-discrimination legislation. So in line with the consultation and the sensitization of the public, this is one of the objectives to get experts on hate crimes and activists to speak to us, to enlighten us, to educate us and for the attendees to get a chance to ask their questions, to make comments. And that is how we want to proceed with moving forward with this piece of legislation.”

 

Grazia Careccia

“What we are looking at is to see what it is that can be done in Belize and adapt the legislation and the modus and the lessons learned throughout different countries, primarily in the commonwealth, to see what is good for Belize and what is that Belizeans see as needed in their society. So it would be a combination of our skills and knowledge and the needs of the society in Belize. What we are doing as well is like we are developing research tools on the matter of hate crime legislation throughout the commonwealth.”

 

While this is the initial phase of the process, a subsequent component will also include training for law enforcement officers so that they can identify cases of hate crimes.

 

Grazia Careccia

“The lack of indication in the laws doesn’t help them as well as other civil servants to see whether their behaviour is criminal or not. So I think it is a bit of both. The laws don’t necessarily change mentality, but it help positioning the state in what it is that the state has already committed to in terms of its international obligations, but also in terms of its responsibility to protect all its citizens.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

Be Sociable, Share!


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

Advertise Here

Leave a Reply

CAPTCHA Image
*