Belize decision a significant Human Rights landmark – Edward Greene
Posted in: Press Releases by admin | 18 August 2016 | 4877
The decision of the Government of Belize to accept the judgment of the High Court to decriminalise consensual sexual acts between adults in private has been described as a significant Human Rights landmark.
Dr. Edward Greene, United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Special Envoy for HIV and AIDS in the Caribbean congratulated the Government and Parliament of Belize following the judgement last week which amended Section 53 of the Belize Criminal Code.
The National Evangelical Association of Belize and the Roman Catholic Church had urged the government to appeal the decision for a number of reasons.
“This decision … is as important as the judgment of Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin in taking the understanding and application of human rights to a level that recognises the inalienable rights, dignity and respect for all regardless of race, class, gender and sexual orientation,” Dr. Greene said.
The UN Special Envoy indicated that it was “his hope that CARICOM Governments would use this occasion as an opportunity to revisit the PANCAP Justice for All road map which has been the subject of discussion and debate by a wide cross-section of stakeholders throughout the region.”
Please see full statement below:
The Belize Government has established a significant Human Rights landmark
I wish to offer warmest congratulation to The Honorable Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize and his Cabinet and indeed the parliament of Belize for accepting the judgment of the Belize High Court to abolish punitive laws contravening its constitution. This decision of the Belizean Government is as important as the judgement of Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin in taking the understanding and application of human rights to a level that recognizes the inalienable rights, dignity and respect for all regardless of race, class, gender and sexual orientation.
In this regard, the judgement of the Belize High Court in the Orozco case should be read in its entirety for a clear understanding of the logic rooted in law but with appreciation of the moral, ethical and religious values upholding the prescriptions of the Constitution and a maturing civilization.
I also wish to commend the opposition party and other stakeholders including civil society, the private sector, faith leaders and the youth with whom I had the privilege to engage over the past four years, for their enlightened approach to respectful dialogue. This is no doubt the lynchpin for translating the legal decision into a meaningful pathway to social justice and equality for all.
It is my hope that CARICOM Governments would use this occasion as an opportunity to revisit the PANCAP Justice for All road map which has been the subject of discussion and debate by a wide cross section of stakeholders throughout the region.
Most important let us hail The Belize Government for establishing this significant human rights landmark.
Edward Greene (Professor)
UN Secretary General Special Envoy for HIV in the Caribbean
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