Aired December 5, 2013 on ieTV. Wide ranging discussion on sexual orientation and immigration and national policy in the Caribbean.
Aired November 13, 2013 on ieTV. Wesley speaks about threats to journalism and journalists in the Caribbean and the role of journalists versus the role of government.
Aired on ieTV November 11/11/13. Ms Mair talks about climate change in the Caribbean and the current state of international environmental law.
As many of you might know I live and work in Trinidad & Tobago which is a strange mishmash of Victorian laws and modernity. Ignoring the Sexual Offenses Act which might be problematic for me were I not given only 3 months in the country on my last entry :
13. (1) Aperson who commits buggery is guilty of an offence
and is liable on conviction to imprisonment—
(a) if committed by an adult on a minor, for life;
(b) if committed by an adult on another adult, for
(c) if committed by a minor, for five years.
(2) In this section “buggery” means sexual intercourse
per anum by a male person with a male person or by a male person
with a female person
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to an act of serious
indecency committed in private between—
(a) a husband and his wife; or
(b) a male person and a female person each of whom
is sixteen years of age or more, both of whom
consent to the commission of the act.
(3) An act of “serious indecency” is an act, other than
sexual intercourse (whether natural or unnatural), by a person
involving the use of the genital organ for the purpose of arousing
or gratifying sexual desire.
Nope, no sexism, homophobia or overt discrimination there. Actually, given my life of late it probably wouldn’t affect me but still.
What else is said you ask? Let me check… Oh wait there are laws that were introduced to placate religious groups. Like India …Oh wait…India is secular…what has T&T done?
There is a Muslim marriage act. That allows…wait..what? A 12 year old girl to be married? Seriously?
8. The age at which a person, being a member of the Muslim
community, is capable of contracting marriage shall be sixteen in
the case of males and twelve in the case of females
However, in the case of an intended marriage between persons
either of whom is under eighteen years of age (not being a widower
or widow), the consent to the marriage, of the father if living or if
the father is dead of the guardian or guardians lawfully appointed
or of one of them, and in case there is no such guardian then of the
mother of the person so under age, and if the mother is dead then
of such other person as may be appointed for the purpose by the
President,shall be certified in writing by the marriage officer before
whom the marriage is contracted upon the certificate ofthe marriage
to be issued in accordance with the provisions of this Act.
The law is here.
Hindus fought for another offensive marriage age. Not quite as awful but still impressively pervy and sexist .
11. (1) The age at which a person, being a member of the
Hindu faith or religion, is capable of contracting marriage shall be
eighteen years in the case of males and fourteen years in the case
(2) Without prejudice to the provisions of subsection (1),
a marriage shall not be solemnised by a Marriage Officer if the
intended husband (not being a widower), is under eighteen years
of age or the intended wife (not being a widow) is under sixteen
years of age unless the consent to the marriage of the party who is
under age by virtue of thissubsection has been given in accordance
with the following provisions of this section, and the consent is
hereby required for the marriage of such party under age.
(3) The required consent may be given by the father of
the party under age, and if the father is dead by the guardian or
guardians appointed or one of them, and in case there is no such
guardian then by the mother of the party so under age, and if the
mother is dead then by such other person as may be appointed for
the purpose by the President.
(4) In case the father, mother, or a guardian whose consent
to a marriage is required under subsection (3) is absent from
Trinidad and Tobago or is unable or refuses to give the consent or
is not of sound mind, the party in whose case consent is required
may apply to the President to appoint a person, being a member of
the Hindu community, to investigate the circumstances of the
intended marriage and if after the investigation it appears to the
person so appointed that there are no reasonable objections to the
intended marriage such person shall so formally declare in writing
and the declaration shall, for the purposes of this Act, be deemed
equivalent to the consent as aforesaid.
Yes, T&T can’t deal with LGBT rights but it is so on the ball for child marriage rights.
I was finishing the Curacao chapter for Fodor’s Caribbean 2013 when I came across this. Not brilliant, likely commercial, but it is still one of my favorite islands.
Via African Activist ( rapidly becoming my favorite site) ,
“Eighty-five nations endorsed the UN Joint Statement on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identitypresented by Colombia to the UN Human Rights Council, an inter-governmental body within the United Nations made up of 47 states. The statement was signed by the Central African Republic, Rwanda, and South Africa.”
As usual, in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic was progressive. Surprisingly, Cuba also voted in support. The English Caribbean ( including T&T which continues to betray its alleged commitment to human rights) was notably absent except for Dominica. I can only surmise that the normally homophobic Dominica either had a coup or someone pushed the wrong button.
As I said on Facebook it is interesting that India is forging ahead towards a bright new and inclusive future for all its people while , as was seen in that recent UN vote, most of Africa and the English Caribbean are slouching backwards towards irrelevance.
Some days I wake up and the news makes me cheery while other days it makes me really pissed. Today was one of the pissed days. I met an email in my inbox from the IGLHRC noting that they were “ deeply disappointed with yesterday’s vote in the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly to remove a reference to sexual orientation from a resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.” Deeply disappointed with? Maybe they are afraid to say they are disgusted with the ill-informed piss poor states who supported the removal – I’m not . The motion was introduced by Benin which will now forever be associated with evil in my mind. Included in the list of supporters of the removal are such human rights luminaries as Iran, Afghanistan and China.
Most disturbing was the number of Caribbean states that chose to either support the removal of the clause or abstain. The Caribbean has good reason to be ashamed today and LGBT people should have a look at the list at the bottom of the release and know exactly what their government thinks of them. The Jamaican PM’s recent hints that he supports the rights of all people and T&T’s new government’s words about inclusiveness can now be exposed as the hypocrisy that they are. Yet another fine example of the developing world showing the rest of the planet why no one should take it too seriously when it comes to human rights.
If there are any errors in this quick post I will correct them later – I am too pissed right now.
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and ARC International are deeply disappointed with yesterday’s vote in the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly to remove a reference to sexual orientation from a resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. The resolution urges States to protect the right to life of all people, including by calling on states to investigate killings based on discriminatory grounds. For the past 10 years, the resolution has included sexual orientation in the list of discriminatory grounds on which killings are often based.
The removed reference was originally contained in a non-exhaustive list in the resolution highlighting the many groups of people that are particularly targeted by killings – including persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, persons acting as human rights defenders (such as lawyers, journalists or demonstrators) as well as street children and members of indigenous communities. Mentioning sexual orientation as a basis on which people are targeted for killing highlights a situation in which particular vigilance is required in order for all people to be afforded equal protection.
The amendment removing the reference to sexual orientation was sponsored by Benin on behalf of the African Group in the UN General Assembly and was adopted with 79 votes in favor, 70 against, 17 abstentions and 26 absent.
“This vote is a dangerous and disturbing development,” said Cary Alan Johnson, Executive Director of IGLHRC. “It essentially removes the important recognition of the particular vulnerability faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people – a recognition that is crucial at a time when 76 countries around the world criminalize homosexuality, five consider it a capital crime, and countries like Uganda are considering adding the death penalty to their laws criminalizing homosexuality.”
This decision in the General Assembly flies in the face of the overwhelming evidence that people are routinely killed around the world because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation, and renders these killings invisible or unimportant. The Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions has highlighted documented cases of extrajudicial killings on the grounds of sexual orientation including individuals facing the death penalty for consensual same-sex conduct; individuals tortured to death by State actors because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation; paramilitary groups killing individuals because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation as part of “social cleansing” campaigns; individuals murdered by police officers with impunity because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation; and States failing to investigate hate crimes and killings of persons because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation.
“It is a matter of great shame that the responsible Committee of the United Nations General Assembly failed in its responsibility to explicitly condemn well-documented killings based on sexual orientation,” said John Fisher, Co-Director of ARC international. “The credibility of the United Nations requires protection of all persons from violations of their fundamental human rights, including on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. We thank those States which supported the inclusion of sexual orientation in the text, and will redouble our collective efforts to ensure that Member States of the United Nations maintain the standards they have sworn to uphold.”
The amendment runs counter to other positive developments in UN and regional human rights systems where there is increased recognition of the need for protection from discrimination regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. At a September 2010 panel held in conjunction with a session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon unequivocally recognized “the particular vulnerability of individuals who face criminal sanctions, including imprisonment and in some cases the death penalty, on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Sixty-eight countries have also signed a joint statement in the UN General Assembly on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity which calls for an end to “human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity … in particular the use of the death penalty on this ground [and] extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.”
IGLHRC and ARC International urge all States, regardless of their vote on this amendment, to sign the UNGA joint statement affirming support of the human rights of all people, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity and to continue in efforts to decriminalize same-sex conduct and to end other discrimination, including violence, on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
The votes to amend the resolution were as follows:
In favor of the amendment to remove sexual orientation from the resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (79):
Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belize, Benin, Botswana, Brunei Dar-Sala, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, China, Comoros, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Opposed to the amendment to remove sexual orientation from the resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (70):
Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bhutan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Micronesia (FS), Monaco, Montenegro, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela
Antigua-Barbuda, Barbados, Belarus, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Colombia, Fiji, Mauritius, Mongolia, Papau New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Vanuatu
Albania, Bolivia, Central African Republic, Chad, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Marshall Island, Mauritania, Nauru, Nicaragua, Palau, Sao Tome Principe, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Togo, Tonga, Turkey, Turkmenistan