(See Below for Case Law, Evidence of Public Attitudes, NGOs that Assist or Advocate on LGBTI issues, and Country of Origin LGBTI Specialists)
Same-sex sexual acts are illegal in Belize. Section 53 of the Criminal Code 2000 provides: ‘Every person who has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any person or animal shall be liable to imprisonment for yen years.’
Section 5(1)(e) of the Immigration Act 2000 prohibits entry in the country of ‘any prostitute or homosexual or any person who may be living on or receiving or may have been living on or receiving the proceeds of prostitution or homosexual behaviour.’
No asylum cases of LGBTI persons fleeing Belize are listed here, but we welcome suggestions.
On the constitutionality of s. 53 of the Criminal Code: Orozco v Attorney-General for Belize has challenged the constitutionality of s. 53 of the Criminal Code. The Supreme Court’s judgment has declared unconstitutional the country’s legal provision banning sodomy.
PUBLIC ATTITUDES AND/OR STATE’S CAPACITY TO PROTECT
According to the 2012 US State Department Country Report, s. 53 of the Criminal Code is interpreted as including only same-sex acts between men. According to the same report the aforementioned provision of the Immigration Act is not enforced.
Asylum Research Consultancy mentions an incident occurring in February 2011, during which four police officers pulled up to a car driven by two gay men and extorted $200 from each by threatening them with arrest. Another example concerns the arbitrary arrest of two transgender persons on 30 April 2011, who spent the night detained in a police station merely for ‘looking suspicious’.
Furthermore, Asylum Research Consultancy and Freedom House have reported widespread societal discrimination against LGBTI groups, including hostile anti-LGBTI portrayals in Belizean media. Members of the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM), the sole organisation providing support to LGBTI populations in Belize, have suffered physical attacks, harassment and insults by the general public, but have been reluctant to file complaints. According to the 2012 US State Department Country Report, a police report filed following one attack in 2013 did not result in any investigation.
NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS (NGOs)
United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM)
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN SPECIALISTS
Tel: +501 673 5641
Caleb Orzoco has been an LGBTI and human rights advocate for over seven years and involved in human development work for over 20 years. As the leader and founding member of the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM), Caleb Orozco has become the face of the LGBTI issue in the local media and in civil society meetings. He has initiated the first in-country litigation challenge among CARICOM member states to change Belize’s sodomy law, and has documented abuses of assault, rape and murder occurring in Belize since 1997. He has conducted research on stigma and discrimination, as well as worked on community education around rights-protection and enforcement, and has led the way to the development of the only LGBT Legal Review in the country along with the current refinement of a white paper on violence. He has undertaken the country’s Universal Periodic Review for 2009 and 2013, as well as the ICCPR in 2013, with partners Heartland Alliance and the Sexual Rights Initiative. As an advocate internationally, Caleb Orozco has worked at the OAS through a coalition of LAC activists since 2007, advancing resolution on violence regionally through the loose LGBTI network, the Caribbean Forum for the Liberation and Acceptance of All Genders and Sexualities (CARIFLAGS), and collectively addressing the UN Resolution on Extrajudicial Killings which included sexual orientation as part of its concerns.
Researched by: Minos Mouzourakis