Belize (CCPR 11-12-2018)
The Committee considered the initial report of Belize (CCPR/C/BLZ/1) at its 3540th and 3541st meetings (CCPR/C/SR.3540 and 3541), held on 15 and 16 October 2018. At its 3559th meeting, held on 29 October 2018, it adopted the following concluding observations.
C. Principal matters of concern and recommendations
Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity
- The Committee welcomes the Supreme Court’s decision in Caleb Orozco v. The Attorney General of Belize et al. (2016), in which the Court recognized the unconstitutionality and discriminatory character of section 53 of the Criminal Code with regard to its criminalization of same-sex sexual conduct between consenting adults. It remains concerned, however, at credible allegations that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex individuals are stigmatized and are subject to de facto discrimination in the enjoyment of a range of rights on the basis of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. The Committee is specifically concerned at reports of: (a) hate speech in media targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex individuals, with total impunity; and (b) violence, harassment and police abuse of authority experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex individuals, a state of affairs that is exacerbated by the lack of effective investigations into such allegations and their lack of documentation in relevant databases (arts. 2, 7, 9, 20 and 26).
- The State party should:
(a) repeal section 53 of the Criminal Code and decriminalize same-sex sexual conduct between consenting adults;
(b) explicitly reject any form of social stigmatization, discrimination and violence against persons based on their sexual orientation or gender identity and undertake to combat hate speech by public or private persons targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex individuals;
(c) remove any barriers to the enjoyment of rights by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex individuals;
(d) facilitate access to justice by victims of harassment, violence and police abuses, including by strengthening trust between lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex individuals and State authorities and increasing the financial and human resources of complaint-receiving bodies such as the Professional Standards Branch; and
(e) ensure the investigation, prosecution and punishment of any act of violence motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity and ensure the systematic collection of data about such acts.