Nations push Guyana to repeal anti-LGBTI laws

Guyana's location in South America

Guyana’s location in South America.  The country is the only nation in South America that’s included in the list of 79 countries with anti-homosexuality laws.

Repression of LGBTI people in Guyana has come under fire from abroad as part of the past year’s United Nations review of countries’ human rights records.

Among countries with anti-gay laws, the past year’s reviews also focused on Grenada, Guinea, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait and Kyrgyzstan as part of the U.N.’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process, which scrutinizes each country’s human rights record every four years.

Excerpts below focus on to human rights for LGBTI people in Guyana, as compiled from the 21st UPR session by the U.N. Human Rights Council:

Recommendations to Guyana

Five years ago, Guyana had agreed to discuss recommendations that it repeal its law against same-sex intimacy between men. This year, the government reported that discussions of that issue, and of repealing the law against cross-dressing and adding an anti-discrimination law, had taken place in the legislature, in the media, in churches and in other non-government organizations.

Guyana protest march on Jan. 11 seeks justice for increasing numbers of murdered LGBT people. (Photo courtesy of Starbroek News)

Guyana protest march in January 2014 seeks justice for increasing numbers of murdered LGBT people. (Photo courtesy of Starbroek News)

“During this period, there has been free and unfettered freedom of expression by NGOs including the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD), religious organizations and the media on these issues,” Guyana’s official representatives said. But, in the end, no laws were  changed.

The government noted that four men who were found guilty of cross-dressing in 2010 are appealing their conviction.  In the process, each man was awarded US $193 because police did not inform them of the reason for their arrest.

The government report added, “Guyana, however, acknowledges that there are interpersonal prejudices based on cultural attitudes and religious beliefs as reflected in a 2013 survey which indicated that 25% of Guyanese are homophobic.”

This year, renewed calls to Guyana for repeal of its homosexuality law and for passage of an anti-discrimination law came from Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Switzerland, the United States, Argentina, Canada, Norway, Spain, Chile, the United Kingdom, Uruguay and Colombia.

Guyana accepted the following recommendations:

  • Take measures to ensure that hate crimes and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity are vigorously investigated and appropriately prosecuted (Recommended by the United States of America);
  • Continue its effort in eliminating discrimination against LGBT starting with the review of its related legislation (Recommended by Thailand);
  • Strengthen the protection of LGBT individuals (Recommended by Brazil)

For more information, read:

10 thoughts on “Nations push Guyana to repeal anti-LGBTI laws

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