Sunday, August 12, 2012

Attack elevated to UN

Posted 12th August

Channel 5 Story
Aug 8, 2012

The tooth about UNIBAM founder’s beating now a UN matter?

Caleb Orozco
From our research, it appears to be the first such case on human rights; but the beating of Caleb Orozco, the president of UNIBAM, has been elevated to the United Nations. The UN Special Rapporteurs on the promotion and protection on freedom of expression and on the situation of human rights defenders have both written to the government seeking answers on the incident. Orozco was allegedly attacked on George Street on February eighth. At the time it was reported that he was threatened by men shouting anti-gay remarks and that one of them threw a beer bottle at him. The bottle hit him in the face and he suffered a broken tooth. In the four-page document dated February twenty-ninth, the UN’s Human Rights Council is expressing concern that the alleged attack may be related to Orozco’s work in advocating for LGBTI rights. Specifically, the government is asked to respond to five issues; to verify the allegations by Orozco, if a complaint has been lodged, the details of the investigation and prosecution and what measures government is putting in place for the protection of the integrity of the UNIBAM president. That information will then form a report to the Human Rights Council. As, we said we have not been able to find any other such complaint on human rights to the UN, that has required the government to respond.

Reporter coverage of UN request

UN rapporteur defends Caleb Orozco’s human rights

Caleb Orozco has become the most recognizable face of the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM), which is the group leading the debate for human rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) people; and now a Special Rapporteur of the United National High Commission for Human rights has stepped in to champion his cause.
Frank La Rue and Margaret Sekaggya, special rapporteurs on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the situation of human rights defenders, have written to the government of Belize, through Belize’s ambassador to the U.N., to request information on the progress (or lack thereof) of the police investigation into the attack on Orozco, in which someone threw an empty beer bottle at Orozco’s head on George Street on February 8 this year, bruising his face and damaging his teeth.
Orozco had reported the matter to the Police and to the local media but very little came of it. Now the special rapporteurs are requesting the details and results of any police investigation and judicial inquiry into the attack.
The letter notes that the police were unable to identify Orozco’s attackers at the time, and inquired if anyone had been prosecuted and whether the alleged attackers had been punished in any way.
The rapporteurs also ask what protective measures are being afforded to Orosco to allow him to proceed with his legitimate activities in defence of human rights.
The UNIBAM movement had lodged an action in the Supreme Court in September 2010 challenging section 53 of the Belize Criminal Code, in that it violates several provisions of the Belizean Constitution because it disproportionately harms sexual minorities in Belize.
Section 53 reads: “Every person who has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any person or animal shall be liable to imprisonment for ten years.”
The case wasset to go to court in February 2011, but was delayed when other interested parties joined the court action on both sides of the argument. Hearings began in July, but it was further adjourned and the matter is still before the court.



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