(SNO) — Local rights group United and Strong Inc. (UNS) last week met with Opposition Leader Philip J. Pierre and discussed, among other things, the Saint Lucia Labour Party’s (SLP) position on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, and Intersex (LGBTQI) community on the island.
The organization said the meeting was part of plans to increase political engagements through meetings with government and elected officials in Saint Lucia.
The meeting was held with representatives of UNS and the Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality (ECADE).
“Mr Pierre declared that the SLP is an institution built on a foundation that recognizes the fundamental Human Rights of all citizens, including LGBTQI persons,” UNS said on its website.
According to UNS, Pierre stated that his Party has a culture of implementing policies to protect minority groups.
“He cited section 131 of the Labour Code that prohibits the unfair dismissal of an employee because of sexual Orientation as an example,” the organization said. “He also pointed to the introduction of wheelchair accessible pathways in the city of Castries for persons with disabilities during the Labour Party’s previous term in office.”
UNS said a number of issues affecting the LGBTQI community were raised at the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review (UPR) held in Geneva in November 2015, with specific emphasis on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
“At the forum, the Government of Saint Lucia accepted the recommendation to strengthen the fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity through human rights education and anti-discrimination awareness programmes,” it said. “However, to date, there has been little to no action on the recommendation.”
In 2019, the UNS hopes to hold dialogue with a number of government and elected leaders including Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, Minister for Gender Relations Gale T. C Rigobert and Minister for Health, Senator Mary Isaac.
It said that it hopes these meetings will “clarify the current administration’s stance on the recommendation and address concerns surrounding the discrimination of LGBTQI people”.