(CMC) — St Lucia and other countries in the eastern Caribbean have been urged by Human Rights Watch (HRW) to repeal colonial buggery laws.
“The laws have broad latitude, are vaguely worded, and serve to legitimise discrimination and hostility towards LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender) people in the Eastern Caribbean,’ the organisation said.
According to HRW, the laws give social and legal sanction for discrimination, violence, stigma, and prejudice against LGBT individuals, by singling out those groups in a discriminatory manner.
HRW disclosed that upon interviewing various citizens of the Eastern Caribbean countries, it was discovered that members of the LGBT community fear coming out to their families or communities, due to experiences of already being ostracised for their identity.
HRW also asserted that members of the community have experienced homelessness due to lack of financial support, making them increasingly vulnerable to an array of abuses.
It declared that discriminatory laws prevent members of the LGBT community from reporting on these issues, where they have experienced lack of protection and empathy from the police.
The organisation urged Eastern Caribbean countries to repeal all laws that criminalise consensual activity among same-sex couples, pass laws defining rape in gender-neutral ways, and conduct awareness raising campaigns for the LGBT community.