Dominica: Legal challenge filed against Dominica’s anti-LGBT laws

A gay man, who must remain anonymous for his [own] protection, on Friday, July 19, 2019, filed a landmark claim challenging Dominica’s homophobic laws that criminalise “buggery” and “gross indecency,” targeting the consensual sexual activity of LGBT people.

The claimant at the centre of this case is a gay man who could face more than a decade in prison for private sexual intercourse with consenting adult same-sex partners. Already, he has experienced homophobic hostility, discrimination, harassment, threats, and physical and sexual assaults fueled by these hateful laws. In one instance, he was viciously attacked in his own home, yet police refused to investigate and allowed his attacker to remain free.

The lawsuit builds on the global push for decriminalisation of LGBT people and aims to end one of the last remaining anti-sodomy laws in Western Hemisphere, has critical legal support from the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (“HIV Legal Network”), the University of Toronto’s International Human Rights Program, and other likeminded groups. This important case will demonstrate that these horrific and outdated laws violate human rights guaranteed in the Constitution of Dominica.

“Brutal and often life-threatening experiences are a daily reality for many LGBT people in Dominica, and elsewhere in the Caribbean. Because the law criminalises all LGBT individuals, it sends a powerful message that other people, whether law enforcement or regular citizens on the street, are entitled to discriminate and commit human rights abuses against LGBT individuals,” says Philip. “While Britain decriminalised homosexuality in 1967, a majority of Commonwealth countries have not followed suit. LGBT people still face harsh laws in many parts of the world.” Read more via Caribbean News Now