Monday, May 30, 2011

UniBAM Response to the Churches Release


UniBAM Response to the Catholic, Anglican and Evangelicals
Press Release dated May 18th, 2011

Dated: May 28th, 2011

The United Belize Advocacy Movement, an advocate organization that uses rights-base approaches to reduce stigma and discrimination seeks to clarify that its constitutional challenge focuses on a narrow ruling to amend the law so that sexual intercourse does not apply to consenting adult.
The Churches release must be challenged point by point as it is full of misrepresentations. The accusation, for example, that we are seeking “new rights” ignores that all Belizeans have established constitutional rights; the outcome of the case is simply rights-enforcement. The United Belize Advocacy Movement must note further that on December 10th, 2009, 66 nations at the UN General Assembly supported a groundbreaking statement confirming that international human rights protections include sexual orientation and gender identity. The 66 countries reaffirmed "the principle of non-discrimination and required Human Rights Principles be applied to all. Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the apostolic nuncio leading the Holy See’s permanent observer mission to the United Nations, had called for an end to unjust discrimination and criminal penalties directed against homosexual persons. The Holy See can be quoted as saying it ,
” opposes all forms of violence and unjust discrimination against homosexual persons, including discriminatory penal legislation which undermines the inherent dignity of the human person. … [T]he murder and abuse of homosexual persons are to be confronted on all levels, especially when such violence is perpetrated by the State. “
The Catholic Church submission as an interested party to the section 53 case and the May 18th, 2011 Press Release it supported, can be considered ill-informed comments that misrepresent the facts of the case and goes against the 2009 Holy See statement of Archbishop Celestino Migliore. 
The press releases stated furthermore that, “The advocacy group has been heavily influenced by foreign interests and that activists have promoted and steadily expanded this “right” to trump universally recognized rights to religious freedom and expression” and that “our constitution affirms by recognizing the supremacy of God.”
The advocacy group does not need foreign interest to tell it that there are human rights violations or that we live in a homophobic and transphobic society. The release further implies that enforcing basic human rights of the population would threaten the right to religious freedom and expression. This could not be further from the truth, as our democracy allows for organizations 
to exist that have opposing views and freely express their religious ideals. The section 53 case will not change that in our society.
The churches argue that the constitution affirms the supremacy of God, but it also affirms “the human dignity of the person and equal and inalienable rights in which all members of the human family are endowed by their creator.

The assumption that this challenge will advance gay marriage and target children only reflects the interested parties’ lack of knowledge of the law.  The organization asks that if we are going to have a healthy social dialogue, let have one with facts, credible research that focuses on the discussion of what really is the human rights reality of our people.



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