IE SOGI mandate and Rapporteur on the Rights of LGBTI persons meet with civil society organizations of the English Speaking Caribbean From September 13-17, 2022, the mandate of the United Nations Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (IE SOGI), Victor Madrigal-Borloz; and the IACHR Rapporteur on the Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans […]
IE SOGI mandate and Rapporteur on the Rights of LGBTI persons meet with civil society organizations of the English Speaking Caribbean
From September 13-17, 2022, the mandate of the United Nations Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (IE SOGI), Victor Madrigal-Borloz; and the IACHR Rapporteur on the Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Persons, Roberta Clarke, conducted a promotional visit to the English-speaking Caribbean, supported by the Eastern Caribbean Alliance (ECADE) and the Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights (Race and Equality) and accompanied by Senior LGBTI Program Officer, Zuleika Rivera.
During their visit, the delegation met with various civil society organizations dedicated to working with LGBTI+ people and women in St. Lucia and other Caribbean States. The purpose was to promote their respective mandates and listen about the situation of LGBTI+ people in the country and the work the organizations do to combat stigmatization, discrimination, and violence.
IE SOGI, Victor Madrigal-Borloz; Race and Equality Senior LGBTI Program Officer, Zuleika Rivera; and members of Raise your Voice St. Lucia.
In St. Lucia, the delegation held a dialogue on International Mechanisms and the rights of LGBTI+ persons. Victor Madrigal, the Independent Expert on SOGI, expressed the importance of holding this important exchange with civil society in the Caribbean. Commissioner Roberta Clarke, Rapporteur on the Rights of LGBTI persons, pointed out that only six Caribbean countries have ratified the American Convention on Human Rights, which is necessary to have access to the Inter-American Court. She also expressed concern over reports that violence against LGBTI+ persons may be under-investigated and characterized by impunity.
Representatives of civil society organizations also participated in the event, including Kenita Placide, Executive Director of ECADE, who highlighted the importance of civil society in the region working together to ensure that their voices are heard. Likewise, Catherine Sealy, Executive Director of Raise your Voice St. Lucia, said: “We want to help all civil society organizations and individuals, regardless of what they work towards.”
Among the most pressing issues in the country, the representatives of the organizations pointed to discrimination and violence against LGBTI+ people, impediments to access to justice, limitations to access to sexual and reproductive rights, physical and psychological violence against LGBTI+ people by their own families, loss of jobs after COVID, and unsolved murders of persons in the LGBTI community.
IACHR Rapporteur on the Rights of LGBTI Persons, Roberta Clarke; IE SOGI, Victor Madrigal-Borloz; Race and Equality Senior LGBTI Program Officer, Zuleika Rivera; and members of United & Strong INC.
REGIONAL EVENT IN BARBADOS
The Caribbean Regional Dialogue on LGBTQI+ D.A.T.A., held for two days, consisted of regional roundtable discussions on violence and access to justice, health and the impact of COVID, economic inclusion of LGBTI+ people, education and human capital, discrimination, access to financial development and the impact of investments, poverty and access to the labor market, and tourism perspectives. It also included the participation of different representatives from civil society, governments, development institutions, regional bodies and the private sector, in order to create evidence-based policies for LGBTI+ rights.
In this regard, the Independent Expert on SOGI, Victor Madrigal addressed during his intervention for the need to collect data on sexual orientation and gender identity to dispel the myths and stereotypes that fuel violence and discrimination. “Evidence is a way to counteract the denial that there is no violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity”, said Madrigal. In her speech, Roberta Clarke, IACHR Rapporteur on the Rights of LGBTI People, applauded the judicial decisions in 4 Caribbean countries which found criminalization of same sex intimacy between consenting adults to be a violation of fundamental rights and freedoms. She also reflected on how LGBTI people demand and deserve intersectional justice. “Too many people in our region remain economically marginalized, too many remain excluded”, she said.
Dr. Lee Badgett, Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, stated that having numbers and data tells LGBTI+ people that they count. She also mentioned that, according to a report by Phil Crehan, a researcher on data and social inclusion, 57% of LGB people and 69% of trans people reported experiencing harassment and bullying at school, and also emphasized the unprecedented opportunity that this event represented in the Caribbean.
Race and Equality’s work has included supporting promotional visits to countries by the United Nations and IACHR mandates for the rights of LGBTI+ people. It is important to follow closely the hard work being carried out by Caribbean civil society organizations, which have achieved important advances for the decriminalization of same-sex relationships in several countries in the region. Race and Equality reaffirms its commitment to supporting their actions to guarantee the equality and dignity of LGBTI+ people and expresses its gratitude to ECADE, the OAS in St. Lucia, the IACHR, the IE SOGI and all the civil society organizations that received us and participated in all the events.
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