LGBT groups address Inter-American Commission for Human Rights
The United Belize Advocacy Movement, UNIBAM, and Belize Youth Empowerment for Change both made joint presentations before the Organization of American States earlier this week citing a list of violations against members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community. The special hearing saw Steven Diaz, on behalf of Belize Youth Empowerment for Change, and Caleb Orozco for UNIBAM address the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights. Both complained that there are too many instances of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment against the gay community and that Belize and that its members are living under constant fear and discrimination from both state and non-state actors.
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Steven Diaz, Belize Youth Empowerment for Change
“The United Belize Advocacy Movement is a non-governmental organization which uses a rights-based approach to reduce stigma and discrimination for men who have sex with men, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Belizeans. The Belize Youth Empowerment for Change also recognizes the urgency of addressing punitive legislation that further marginalizes young Belizeans, LGBT and also echoes the sentiments of the United Belize Advocacy Movement, regarding intersecting issues of health, economics, education and how discrimination impact quality of life. In this presentation, we’re here to express our concerns in the following way: we remain concerned that the state retains legislation criminalizing same sex sexual conduct, the provision exacerbates discrimination, violence against and general marginalization of sexual minorities in Belizean society. We remain concerned that the state has not implemented any public policies or legislation that would rectify the extreme public stigma against LGBT individuals in Belizean society or counter the homophobic speech or misinformation spread by proponents of the criminalization of same-sex conduct.”
Caleb Orozco, Executive Director, UNIBAM
“The concern is reinforced because there is a broadcasting authority that is used to regulate local media, but it exists without a budget or staff, despite the current regulations. The concerns about perceived stigma found in a 2012 study report found that forty percent had suffered some level of discrimination, whether verbal or physical, both being the more common forms. Concerns about violence is interconnected to hate speech that is further perpetuated in parts of Belize media.”