Belizean law barring entry to the country by homosexuals to be fought in court
Gay activist Maurice Tomlinson and the group AIDS Free World (AFW) explained to Jamaica’s The Gleamer that Belize’s law barring entry to the country to homosexuals will be among the fights that the group will champion in 2013. According to AFW, “Only two countries in the Western Hemisphere, Belize and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, arbitrarily ban the entry of homosexuals as a ‘prohibited class’. AIDS-Free World is working to bring that to an end.”
Tomlinson travels across the Caribbean and based on Immigration Laws, he is legally barred from entering two countries, Belize and Trinidad. Tomlinson is a Jamaican member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transexual (LGBT) community and an HIV-activist.
Under Belizean Immigration Law, under Section 5(1) of the Immigration Act, “… [T]he following persons are prohibited immigrants – … (e) 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….”
Tomlinson, was cordially invited to conduct training and sensitisation sessions in Belize City between the dates of January 14-16. According to him despite the invaluable contribution he can make to Belize’s HIV response, as an attorney-at-law, he is unwilling to break the law to conduct these sessions. He was invited to Belize by the United Belize Advocacy Movement, Belize’s only civil-society group working exclusively to promote the health and human rights of LGBT/men who have sex with men citizens.
According to the ardent gay activist, he considers the ban on his entry into Belize to be a violation of his right to freedom of movement within the Caribbean Community. Hence, a refusal of the invitation and, with the support of AIDS-Free World, he has initiated a challenge to Belize’s Immigration Act before the highest court in the region, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
In December 2011, United States President Barack Obama criticised nations that persecute homosexuals.In response, Belizean Prime Minister Dean Barrow reiterated that Belize would not change its anti-homosexuality stance. He argued that the issue is one for Belize to deal with and if the U.S. wanted to punish states by removing foreign aid for continuing such practice, then “they will have to cut off their aid”.
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