Gender Policy resolution highly debated at O.A.S. General Assembly
While the Gender Policy will remain as it stands according to the Prime Minister, in Guatemala, there is a resolution that is also being heavily debated and discussed by member states of the Organization of American States. The resolution includes issues of Human Rights Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression. Both Belize and Barbados are two of the countries expressing concerns on the issue of sexual orientation and gender identity. Even though, Belize had supported previous resolutions in the past three years, it is now objecting to language in respect of diversity. Of note is that Belize says it is unable to join consensus given the fact that several of the issues are at present the subject of discussion locally. A strong lobby from both sides is ongoing and among those supporting the resolution is UNIBAM’s President, Caleb Orozco, who is querying whether Belize is capable of acknowledging the concerns of its LGBT citizens in any document without backtracking. A News Five team is in Guatemala covering the forty-third general assembly and Marleni Cuellar broached this issue with the C.E.O. of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Alexis Rosado, C.E.O., Ministry of Foreign Affairs
“We were very actively engaged in the discussions in Washington and we have been following up with the different drafting processes. The main one which for us is key and critical that it gets adopted is the convention against racism and intolerance. And that is something that Belize was very instrumental in getting it through the drafting process; in fact one of our officers was the co-chair to get it through the whole system. And we expect that it will be adopted tomorrow. There are other resolutions that have been more sensitive inclusion of the sexual orientation. And what we did not too long ago was that we included a footnote which basically said that the issues under the resolution are under discussion/debate in our court system. Now the way it works is that once you footnote something, then you are no longer a part of the debating process. So whereas a debate is continuing now and we will have to wait to see what is the final result of that debate, we cannot right now comment on any draft because we haven’t seen the latest draft. It is a moving target, lots of activities going on—some countries want to include more things that others would be willing to allow. But yes it is a resolution that has caused much debate, a lot of soul-searching. But we will see when it comes out. We have been clear that as long as we as a country are clear that we do not tolerate any kind of discrimination—our constitution does not allow it. The part that we have to look at is to what extent you want to push that button in terms of discrimination and so forth. We have thankfully finally a policy document for gender which was again a subject of discussion and debate in Belize…but that should be our guide.”
We’ll have more coverage on the O.A.S. coming up later in the newscast.