Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Situation and treatment of bisexuals, including social attitudes; availability of state protection and support services
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Publication Date||24 October 2011|
|Citation / Document Symbol||VCT103851.E|
|Related Document||Saint-Vincent-et-les Grenadines : information sur la situation des personnes bisexuelles et le traitement qui leur est réservé, y compris l'attitude de la société; la protection offerte par l'État et les services de soutien|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Situation and treatment of bisexuals, including social attitudes; availability of state protection and support services, 24 October 2011, VCT103851.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4ecdf0552.html [accessed 6 December 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Information on the situation and treatment of bisexuals in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response. However, several sources provide information about the situation of persons in same-sex relationships (UN 11 July 2011, para. 24, 26, 28, 29; US 8 Apr. 2011, Sec.6; ISHR 13 May 2011; IGLHRC 17 Nov. 2010; CVC n.d.).
The United States (US) Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2010 notes that "[h]omosexual acts for both sexes are illegal under indecency statutes" that provide for a maximum penalty of five years in prison (US 8 Apr. 2011, Sec. 6). The US report also points out that "some male homosexual acts are also illegal under anal intercourse laws" and carry a maximum prison penalty of 10 years (ibid.). The July 2011 report on the United Nations' (UN) universal periodic review (UPR) of the human rights situation in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines includes comments by representatives from the United States, Norway and France expressing concern for the illegality of same-sex sexual relations (UN 11 July 2011, para. 24, 26, 29).
When the UN's UPR working group met with the head of the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines delegation on 10 May 2011, he reportedly responded to "repeated calls for â¦ de-criminalizing same-sex relations" by explaining that the law is "widely accepted in society" and that there is "no mood" for this to change (ISHR 13 May 2011). The July 2011 report to the UN provided additional details about the 10 May meeting, reporting Saint Vincent and the Grenadines as noting that "[i]n the context of the moral, societal and cultural make-up of the State, there was currently no desire to revisit" the legislation on "same-sex acts and buggery" (UN 11 July 2011, para. 29). In an addendum to the July 2011 report, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines further clarified that to "institute policies and initiatives to address discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity" would require "extensive national consultation given the nature of the issues involved" (ibid. 22 Sept. 2011, para. 16).
The US Country Reports notes that the society of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is "deeply conservative" (US 8 Apr. 2011, Sec. 6). St. Vincent and the Grenadines have no laws prohibiting "discrimination against a person on the basis of sexual orientation" (ibid.). In 2010, "anecdotal evidence suggested there was social discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons" and "few" people publicly identified themselves as LGBT (ibid.).
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and ARC International issued a joint statement commenting on the removal of "sexual orientation" from "a resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions" during a vote of the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly on 16 November 2010 (IGLHRC 17 Nov. 2010). According to the statement, the resolution "urges States to protect the right to life of all people, including by calling on states to investigate killings based on discriminatory grounds," including sexual orientation (ibid.). Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was one of the 79 countries that voted in favour of removing "sexual orientation" from the resolution (ibid.). The Executive Director of the IGLHRC stated that the vote "'essentially removes the important recognition of the particular vulnerability faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people'" (ibid.).
The Caribbean Vulnerable Communities (CVC) organization notes that "[t]he Caribbean is well known for its homophobia, but remains the home to a large community of men who have sex with men, some of whom identify as gay, others who identify as bisexual, and still others who accept neither label" (CVC n.d.). According to the CVC, the "smaller island-states" that form part of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), which includes Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (CARICOM n.d.), have "smaller and more underground" non-governmental organizations that cater to the gay and bisexual populations and have been seeing "increasing mobilization of men who have sex with men" (CVC n.d.).
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat. N.d. "Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)."
Caribbean Vulnerable Communities (CVC). N.d. "MSM."
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and ARC International. 17 November 2010. "Governments Remove Sexual Orientation from UN Resolution Condemning Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions."
International Service for Human Rights (ISHR). 13 May 2011. "UPR of St Vincent and the Grenadines: No Decriminalisation of Same-Sex Relationships."
United Nations (UN). 22 September 2011. Human Rights Council. "Views on Conclusions and/or Recommendations, Voluntary Commitments and Replies Presented by the State under Review." Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. (A/HRC/18/15/Add.1)
_____. 11 July 2011. Human Rights Council. Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. (A/HRC/18/15).
United States (US). 8 April 2011. Department of State. "Saint Vincent and the Grenadines." Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2010.
Additional Sources Consulted
Oral sources: Representatives of the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, as well as a consultant on Caribbean human rights, were unable to provide information for this Response. Attempts to contact representatives of ARC International, the Caribbean Association for Feminist Research, International Service for Human Rights, a professor at the University of Toronto, and Vincey CHAP were unsuccessful.
Internet sites, including: Ameco Press; Amnesty International; ARC International; Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action; Caribbean Media Corporation; Caribbean Net News; Enkidu; European Country of Origin Information Network; Factiva; Institute for Gender and Development Studies (University of the West Indies); International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association; IPS; Milenio; Official Website of the Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Periodismohumano.com; PlanetOut.com; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Human Rights Association; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Ministry of National Mobilization, Social Development, The Family, Persons with Disabilities, Youth, Sports and Culture; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Ministry of National Security; Searchlight; United Nations Integrated Regional Information Networks; Vincentian.