Press Release:– Groups representing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Caribbean citizens have long cautioned our governments that buggery and gross indecency laws pose a threat to the lives of anyone perceived to be gay, and therefore criminal, whether or not they are.
In the wake of the murder of Michael Pooran On February 23, 2019, local human rights group United and Strong and regional umbrella organisation ECADE, urge our governments to strongly denounce any forms of violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.
As we stand in sympathy with the family whose loss is strongly alleged to be due to the perceived sexual orientation of the victim, we encourage the governments of Saint Lucia and the eastern Caribbean to re-examine the impact of the Buggery and Gross indecency Laws (Criminal Code, sections 132, 133) that are widely interpreted as criminalisation of the LGBT community.
These laws at once create an image of gay people as un-apprehended criminals and emboldens others with a sense of impunity that has proven to be a real threat to anyone whose gender expression is felt to be outside the norm.
Therefore everyone who, in a moment, may not fit what may be considered “normal” or “accepted” gender expression is at risk.
Protection of all vulnerable groups equals protection of every citizen and allows every the freedom of expression United and Strong and ECADE remind the government of Saint Lucia and the eastern Caribbean that in 2018 the 48th OAS General Assembly approved a tenth resolution on “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” that encourages member states to consider “adopting public policies against discrimination by reason of sexual orientation and gender identity”.
While this resolution does not go far enough to insist on full protection of LGBT citizens, our governments can take it upon themselves to be progressive and enact the necessary legislation. Our government has recognised and committed in international fora to respect, protect and fulfil the rights of all citizens.
It is therefore unfortunate that our police force cannot identify or prosecute bias or hate crimes and the lack of legislation may serve as a barrier to providing full protection to those who are, or perceived to be, gay.
United and Strong and ECADE will continue our advocacy to achieve full recognition of the human rights of all people through litigation and advocacy. As such we will continue to monitor and engage with law enforcement, the judiciary and state representatives. We again express our sympathy to the friends and family of Michael Pooran.