St. Lucia: Attitude of police towards investigating crimes reported by homosexuals (January 2000 to February 2001)
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||23 February 2001|
|Citation / Document Symbol||LCA36464.E|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, St. Lucia: Attitude of police towards investigating crimes reported by homosexuals (January 2000 to February 2001), 23 February 2001, LCA36464.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3df4be6010.html [accessed 7 March 2014]|
|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.|
The following information was provided by the president of the National Centre for Legal Aid and Human Rights, a non-governmental and non-profit organization based in Castries, St. Lucia, in a 22 February 2001 telephone interview.
Although homosexuality is illegal and not condoned in St. Lucia, there is no official prejudice directed at homosexuals by the country's judicial system. For criminal prosecutions in which a homosexual has been the victim of assault or vandalism, the fact that he/she is homosexual would not be a factor in whether or not the courts administer justice. In theory, all St. Lucians may report a crime to police, however, in practice, some "corrupt elements within the police" may not take the complaint seriously if the alleged victim is homosexual. Abuse of power among St. Lucia's police force is commonplace. In some cases, the police have turned a "blind eye" to crimes, especially to crimes committed against women. It is conceivable that police would ignore complaints by homosexuals.
The president states that the victim of the crime would need to be persistent in his accusations and lodge a complaint at a higher level, such as the Complaint's Desk, established in January 2001, within the Ministry of Legal Affairs, or the Ombudsman's Office, or seek assistance from NGOs such as the National Centre for Legal Aid and Human Rights. The president added, however, that her Centre is severely under-funded and that the assistance that it can provide is limited; there are no official legal aid clinics in St. Lucia.
Additional and/or corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.
While not specifically mentioning legal recourse available to homosexuals in St. Lucia, the following statement by human rights lawyer, Mary Francis, offers some general information on the justice system and attitudes in the country:
"St Lucia is not serious about human rights. St Lucia is holding out on these issues, particularly by not ratifying the ICCP [International Convenant on Political and Civil Rights]. If this were ratified, then individuals would be able to take cases of human rights abuses to the UN Commission in Geneva." Asked why she felt the government was "holding out" on these issues, Mrs Francis replied: "Because otherwise individuals can then embarrass the state. They can then show that despite all the superficial signs of progress, St Lucia is a very backward place. It would make the government responsible to other forces, and affect St Lucia's sovereignty. The government does not want people coming and poking their noses in its business. We need to push for ratification. On the domestic front, there are some ancient laws here. We need to revise many of them to reflect the international standards. St Lucia is a backward place, and we cannot continue to be like this" (The Star 16 Dec. 2000).
Some information on homosexuals in St. Lucia can be found in LCA32751.E of 1 September 1999.
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 to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
National Centre for Legal Aid and Human Rights, Castries, St. Lucia. 21 February 2001. Telephone interview with the president.
The Star [Castries, St. Lucia]. 16 December 2000. Chris Barnard. "The Golden Hope Controversy: Whose Side Is Sarah On?"
Additional Sources Consulted
ILGA Bulletin [Brussels]. 2000
World News Connection (WNC)
Internet Sites, including:
Gay Guide Net
Gay Law Net
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC)
Organisation of American States (OAS)