As the Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality (ECADE), marks six years of advocacy, we call for “Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All” sexual and gender-diverse people in the region.
Laws that criminalise consensual, private sexual acts between persons above the age of consent have been declared unconstitutional in two eastern Caribbean countries in 2022.
ECADE’s litigation initiative has led courts in Antigua and Barbuda and Saint Kitts and Nevis to strike down these laws.
The judgments acknowledge that these colonial laws undermine the dignity and freedom of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people.
Justice for all, demands that we remove all laws that unjustly target a specific people because of who they love or how they honour their gender.
We can all live by the philosophy captured in the theme of Human Rights Day 2022, “Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All”.
We are reminded that activism is our principles put into action. Each of us has the ability to be advocates for dignity, freedom, and justice.
Our words, our treatment and defence of those marginalised and discriminated against. We can all be advocates by holding our governments to account to protect all citizens from violence, homophobia, misogyny, ableism, ageism and sexism.
“We all have a part to play in the safeguarding and uplifting of each other’s rights across differences. Too often we only see rights from a narrow perspective or how it applies to protecting the status quo. We have to move away from this towards embracing the rights of all people,” says Lysanne Charles, Chair of ECADE. She adds, “When we get to a place where the respect for human dignity trumps all others dynamics, we will have a stronger, better region.”
Towards this aim, ECADE in partnership with Synergía, and in collaboration with the European Commission, will launch the “CALIPSO” project, supported by the European Development Fund. CALIPSO – Caribbean LGBTQ Initiative to Promote Solidarity Outcomes.
The project will advance the full protection and promotion of human rights of LGBTQ+ people. This regional project focuses on countries within the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and Barbados.
Over the next two years, activities conducted with country-level organisation will ensure visibility through equitable representation, advocacy utilising documented lived realities of constituents constituent and capacity development.
Executive Director Kenita Placide says, “Human Rights Day highlights the strides we have made socially, culturally and legally. We recognise the lives lost, the damage of the colonial past and the trauma we still carry, as we forge the path of healing, reconciliation and growth, with an openness to learning.”
ECADE continues to strengthen the capacity of regional organisations representing marginalised communities, to engage with policy makers and to amplify the voices of the LGBTQ+ community.
The Alliance remains committed to confronting discriminatory laws, with constitutional challenges in Barbados, Saint Lucia and Grenada.
These are not just milestones but real steps towards improved quality of life and the lived experience of all. Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All aptly captures the essence of ECADE’s work on behalf of LGBTQ+ people in the sub-region.
We welcome the occasion of Human Rights Day to recommit to creating the world we want to see for ourselves, for our children and for future generations.
SOURCE: Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality. Headline photo courtesy Cecilie Johnsen (Unsplash.com)