Violent attacks on LGBT residents of St. Vincent are the latest homophobic response to a legal challenge seeking to overturn the Caribbean nation’s anti-gay laws.
The regional LGBTQ advocacy group ECADE (the Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality) is protesting the violence, urging the government to “safeguard those facing discrimination and violence because of outdated and unjust laws.”
This is ECADE’s press release:
Regional human rights groups say LGBT Vincentians living in fear
Urge a focus on real social ills following protests
(Castries, December 4, 2019) The Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality (ECADE), is urging a focus on real social ills in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The regional human rights organisation works with local partner VincyCHAP to address laws and policies that discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Vincentians.
VincyCHAP and ECADE says there is heightened fear among LGBTQ Vincentians, who have reported a recent increase in verbal and physical attacks, particularly in Kingstown.
ECADE’s Executive Director Kenita Placide notes, “Since the challenge to Sections 146 and 148 of the SVG Criminal Code was announced, we have seen an uprising in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines that we have not seen even after horrendous assaults on innocent children and women or unprovoked attacks on citizens because of their sexuality. These are crimes against which their should be constant and loud outcry.”
Placide notes that the focus should always be on the responsibility to protect citizens from harm and preserve public order. Following religious protests in the capital, LGBT Vincentians have reported at least four unprovoked attacks to VincyCHAP and ECADE.
“The Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines undertakes to respect, protect and promote the rights of all its citizens and Section 146 and 148 clearly go against the rights enshrined in the Constitution,” says Placide. “How can there be any objection to requesting that the State safeguard those facing discrimination and violence because of outdated and unjust laws?” Placide asks.
Section 146 and 148 are discriminatory laws used to target LGBT people. Punishment for breaking these laws is up to 10 years imprisonment. Both apply to men and women. Two gay men, exiled from their homes in Saint Vincent, filed cases at the High Court of SVG, challenging the constitutionality of these laws in July. in November the court ruled that ten churches, under the banner of the Christian Coalition, can join the Government in responding to the challenge. VincyCHAP and ECADE are not party to this particular litigation.
While noting that this is a constitutional and not a religious matter, ECADE still reminds the public of the exhortation by current head of the Roman Catholic, Pope Francis, who famously said regarding LGBT people, “Who am I to judge?…The key is for the church to welcome, not exclude and show mercy, not condemnation.”
Learn more at www.ecequality.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.