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Due to the small size and population of Caribbean states human rights issues and concerns often

go unreported. The aim of CHRI London is to monitor and promote human rights throughout the

Caribbean. To achieve this we publicize, provide information and report on human rights issues

in the Caribbean to other organizations, including human rights groups, Non-Governmental

Organizations, Civil Society Organizations and the media. There are many overlapping issues

that affect all of the 12 Commonwealth Caribbean and Latin American states that lead to

common human rights problems. Where possible we report and assess common problems

affecting the region and report on specific issues in individual countries.

The Gender Policy Issue

In 2002 in Trinidad and Tobago, the UWI Institute for Gender and Development studies (St.

Augustine) developed an innovative gender policy which among other things sought to shift

fixed and false ideas about gender which produce gender inequality and violence. It also

advocated LGBTI equality. The religious objection following its development prevented its

implementation until 2009, and even then, the policy implemented was a diluted caricature of the

original that avoided “any issues relating to termination of pregnancy, same-sex unions,

homosexuality, or sexual orientation.” The objection revived in Trinidad in 2012, when

government was considering another draft. After, consultations with religious groups, Minister

Marlene Coudray in 2013 clarified that the draft policy before the committee avoided gay rights.

She explained that God was still in the constitution (and everywhere presumably) and that the

Inter Religious Organization (IRO) were against extending equal rights to LGBTI people. In a

tale of one region, Belize in 2013 similarly produced a draft gender policy addressing some of

the same issues and making some of the same recommendations as the Trinidad and Tobago

policy. The Belize policy too received a spirit whipping in the ensuing religious uproar, but
Prime Minister Dean Barrow, showing courage unbecoming of politicians, maintains that he

“will not withdraw the gender policy.”

Human Rights Cases

There are now cases before the High Courts in Jamaica and Belize, as well as before the

Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) challenging legislation which discriminates against LGBTI

people. Among the range of responses to the cases, religious organizations have organized public

protests; the so called ‘Love’ March in Jamaica (love? *scratches head*) and the ‘March for the

Constitution’ in Belize (sarcasm I hope). The marches advocate among other things continued

discrimination against homosexuals and the Belize march continues to advance across Belize,

with figures of coffins and hanging men bearing the name UNIBAM, the new nickname for

homosexuals since the Belize case brought by the organization (United Belize Advocacy

Movement) bearing that acronym.

People continue to violate and kill people perceived as LGBTI in the Caribbean. The violations

and killings are facilitated by hatred of LGBTI people; the hatred is partially facilitated by the

kind of marches referred to above which among other things position LGBTI people as different

and depraved.