Grenada: Situation and treatment of homosexuals; state protection and support services (2006-2009)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa
Publication Date 17 September 2009
Citation / Document Symbol GRD103262.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Grenada: Situation and treatment of homosexuals; state protection and support services (2006-2009), 17 September 2009, GRD103262.E, available at: [accessed 20 September 2018]
DisclaimerThis 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.

Sources indicate that consensual homosexual relations are illegal in Grenada (US 25 Feb. 2009, Sec. 5; GrenCHAP et al. July 2007, 3; ILGA May 2009, 20; Toronto Star 7 Dec. 2007; GlobalGayz n.d.). Sources report that sexual relations between men are criminalized under the criminal code and carry a punishment of up to ten years' imprisonment (GrenCHAP et al. July 2007, 3; ILGA May 2009, 20). According to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), the law states "If any two persons are guilty of unnatural connexion [sic], or if any person is guilty of an unnatural connexion with an animal, every such person shall be liable to imprisonment for ten years" (ILGA May 2009, 20). Some sources indicate that this law only applies to men; lesbian sexual relations are legal (GrenCHAP et al. July 2007, 3; ILGA May 2009, 20; GrenCHAP 10 Sept. 2009). In 10 September 2009 correspondence with the Research Directorate, the Director of the Grenada Caribbean HIV/AIDS Partnership (GrenCHAP), a non-governmental organization (NGO) which advocates for sexual minorities, sex workers and other at risk populations, stated that the law against homosexuality is "not actively enforced" (GrenCHAP 10 Sept. 2009).

According to a Shadow Report to the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) prepared by a group of local, regional and international organizations, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) individuals in Grenada experience discrimination in employment, education and housing (GrenCHAP et al. July 2007, 4). The report states that the anti-gay laws "strengthen social stigma against homosexuals" (ibid., 3). The United States (US) Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2008 characterizes Grenadian society as "generally ... intolerant of homosexuality" (US 25 Feb. 2009, Sec. 5). Freedom House indicates that there have been cases involving the "mistreatment" of homosexuals in Grenada (2009). The Director of GrenCHAP stated that homosexuals in Grenada are discriminated against and sometimes face violence (10 Sept. 2009). He provided examples where homosexuals were stabbed, had bottles thrown at them, or faced threats and verbal harassment (GrenCHAP 10 Sept. 2009). However, he did not report any cases of murder (ibid.).

The Shadow Report to the UNHRC indicates that gay men in Grenada are disproportionately involved in sex work and are vulnerable to sexual violence in prison, which is underreported and inadequately investigated by authorities (GrenCHAP et al. July 2007, 5-6).

Media sources report on a Grenadian sociologist at St. George's University who wrote a book about homosexuality in the Caribbean in which he reported that LGBT individuals have been "coming out" more and more in recent years, affirming their sexuality through organizations or protest marches (Jamaica Gleanor 12 Oct. 2008; Stabroek News 23 Aug. 2008).

State Protection

The Director of GrenCHAP stated that the attitudes of police officers toward homosexuals range widely depending on the individual, some are homosexual themselves and some "would taunt homosexuals" (10 Sept. 2009). In an example he provided, when a police officer responded to a domestic dispute between two lesbians, the officer threatened to jail "all homosexuals in Grenada" even though female same-sex relations are not criminalized (GrenCHAP 10 Sept. 2009). The Shadow Report to the UNHRC states that even though there have not been many reports of arbitrary arrests in Grenada, the "legal landscape suggests that there may be biased policing and criminalization of LGBT persons" (GrenCHAP et al. July 2007, 6).

Media sources report that in November 2006, the Grenadian Health Minister stated that the government would not consider a recommendation to decriminalize homosexuality because each country needs to consider "its own cultural situation, the faith and religious situation within the country" (CMC 27 Nov. 2006; AP 27 Nov. 2006).

Media sources report that in November 2007, there was a controversy over whether all-gay cruise ships should be allowed entry to Grenada (Toronto Star 28 Nov. 2007; CMC 20 Nov. 2007). In a statement issued on 6 December 2007, the Ministry of Tourism announced that they welcomed all visitors to Grenada, including homosexuals, but warned that the majority of people in Grenada have not encountered "the gay lifestyle" and Grenada prohibits open displays of intimate acts among all couples (Grenada 6 Dec. 2007).

Support Services

Information about support services available to homosexuals in Grenada was scarce among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate. According to the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities (CVC), a coalition of community leaders and NGOs which provides services for groups vulnerable to HIV infection (CVC n.d.a), the smaller island-states of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), of which Grenada is a member, have small "underground" groups which serve the LGBT community (CVC n.d.b). According to the Director of GrenCHAP, GrenCHAP is the primary group in Grenada active in promoting gay and lesbian rights; there are other organizations "sensitive to the cause," but he did not provide details about these other organizations (GrenCHAP 10 Sept. 2009).

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.


Associated Press (AP). 27 November 2006. "A Package of News Briefs from the Caribbean." (Factiva)

Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC). 20 November 2007. "Gay Cruise Ships Ignite Debate in Grenada." (BBC Monitoring Americas 21 Nov. 2007/Factiva)
_____. 27 November 2006. "Grenada Rejects 'decriminalization' of homosexuality." (BBC Monitoring Americas/Factiva)

Caribbean Vulnerable Communities (CVC). N.d.a. "About CVC." [Accessed 3 Sept. 2009]
_____. N.d.b. "MSM." [Accessed 3 Sept. 2009]

Freedom House. 2009. "Grenada." Freedom in the World (2009). [Accessed 3 Sept. 2009]

Globalgayz. N.d. "Grenada." [Accessed 3 Sept. 2009]

Grenada. 6 December 2007. Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Culture and the Performing Arts. "Statement by the Ministry of Tourism on the Matter of Gay Visitors to Grenada." [Accessed 3 Sept. 2009]

Grenada Caribbean HIV/AIDS Partnership (GrenCHAP) et al. July 2007. "Sexuality, Gender, HIV Vulnerability and Human Rights in Grenada." [Accessed 3 Sept. 2009]

GrenCHAP. 10 September 2009. Correspondence with the Director.

International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA). May 2009. Daniel Ottosson. State-Sponsored Homophobia: A World Survey of Laws Prohibiting Same Sex Activity Between Consenting Adults. [Accessed 3 Sept. 2009]

Jamaica Gleaner [Kingston]. 12 October 2008. "The Gay Uprising in the Caribbean." [Accessed 3 Sept. 2009]

Stabroek News [Georgetown, Guyana]. 23 August 2008. "'A Gathering of Lesbian and Gay Writing' for Launch." [Accessed 4 Sept. 2009]

Toronto Star. 7 December 2007. John Goddard. "Grenada Relents on Gay Cruises; Island has Sea Change on Port Ban After Protesters Cancel Hotel Rooms, Ask Ottawa to Stop Foreign Aid." (Factiva)
_____. 28 November 2007. John Goddard. "Grenada Considering Ban on Gay Cruises, Reports Say." (Factiva)

United States (US). 25 February 2009. Department of State. "Grenada." Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2008. [Accessed 3 Sept. 2009]

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sources, including: Amnesty International (AI), European Country of Origin Information Network (, Grenada Informer, Hope-Pals Foundation, Human Rights Watch (HRW), Human Rights Desk Grenada, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), Office of the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Refworld, Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS, Royal Grenada Police Force.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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