The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has welcomed the decision of the High Court in Trinidad and Tobago to declare unconstitutional the criminalization of consensual sexual relations between same sex adults.
“With this historic decision, Trinidad and Tobago becomes the third country in the English-speaking Caribbean, together with Bahamas and Belize, to repeal laws that criminalize consensual sex between adults of the same sex that originated in regional’s colonial past,” the IACHR said in a statement.
Government to appeal ruling
The Trinidad and Tobago government has indicated that it would be appealing the High Court ruling that its unconstitutional to impede on the rights of homosexual men and anal sex, a challenge that was brought against the state in 2017 by gay rights activist Jason Jones.
High Court Judge Devindra Rampersad ruled that the law goes against the basic rights of any citizen to enjoy the freedom of privacy and family life.
He said it was unfortunate when society, in any way, values a person or gives a person their identity based on their race, color, gender, age or sexual orientation.
“That is not their identity. That is not their soul. That is not the sum total of their value to society or their value to themselves,” said Justice Rampersad.
Human rights milestone
Rapporteur on the Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Persons of the IACHR, Flavia Piovesan, described the ruling as a “milestone in the recognition of the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons in Trinidad and Tobago” adding “we hope to see more countries in the Caribbean Anglophone region following their example.”
The IACHR said it understands the existence of ‘buggery’ laws is used as a mechanism for social control and domination that enables states to legitimize and contribute to the stigma of LGBT persons as “immoral” individuals.
The IACHR is a principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), and derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights.