Posts tagged human rights
Posts tagged human rights
Political cartoonist and JLP support ‘Clovis’ smears gays, PNP…
The People’s National Party (PNP) has claimed victory over the incumbent Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) in today’s parliamentary elections in Jamaica. The post-result political analyses are best left for others. For me, I find it encouraging that homophobic campaigning against the PNP in reaction to its stated position on equal rights for gays to serve in parliament, and a review to repeal the buggery law, clearly made no impact on the majority of voters today.
If it’s not political suicide in Jamaica, I can’t imagine it being so anywhere else in the Caribbean.
But first, a flashback…
KINGSTON, August 19, 2011:
No politician in this country will ever call for the repeal of the buggery laws because that would be tantamount to political suicide. Jamaican politicians are even willing to face international ridicule just to prove to the local populace that they are staunchly opposed to the gay lifestyle. “Not in my Cabinet!” Prime Minister Bruce Golding declared on the British talk show Hardtalk a few years ago. This was in response to being asked if he would tolerate gays in his Cabinet. He was chastised in the international press but many people here loved him for it.
- Leighton Levy, The Jamaica Star
KINGSTON, December 20, 2011:
At the last leadership debate in the lead-up to the Jamaican general elections, Portia Simpson-Miller, leader of the opposition People’s National Party (PNP), said that she had no objection to appointing gays to her Cabinet. And she went further to say that, perhaps, Jamaica should review its buggery laws which effectively criminalise men who have sex with men. This is HUGE!
Perhaps Simpson-Miller may have gotten ahead of herself and didn’t intend to speak on the repeal of the buggery law, but that is just me wondering why she’d take such a huge political risk before actually being elected as Prime Minister in the virulently homophobic island, where hatred of gays seems, prima facie,to be a societal norm.
This bold, though risky, move by Portia Simpson-Miller should be applauded as a turning point in the national and regional political discourse on gay rights. And, if successful, the PNP/Government of Jamaica would - ironically - set precedent in the Caribbean for ending legislated discrimination against LGBTs.
Who’d have thunk it?
Update: The Jamaica Gleaner’s Christmas Day editorial examines the impact of vulgar anti-gay sentiments now being spewed by the incumbent Jamaica Labour Party in the wake of this debate. Apparently, they’ve been quite effective:
Labourite this AM in Christiana: “Vote labour, bun out sodomite, vote labour on December 29th”— Gordonswaby (@Gordonswaby) December 25, 2011
Secretary Hillary Clinton’s speech on defending LGBT rights abroad and the new Obama administration policy to protect people around the world who are jailed, beaten and executed for being LGBT have been met with intense uproar from the Religious Right.
Pat Robertson on The 700 Club today said that the policy was “appalling” shows that America is willing to “violate God’s principles and to make a mockery of His laws.” Robertson even warned that God will not tolerate it and “when the blow comes, it’s going to be horrible”
Read more at Right Wing Watch…
Bill Browning of the Bilerico Project writes:
Here’s the speech everyone is talking about today. It’s being heralded as a modern day “I Have a Dream” speech.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressed the United Nations in Geneva this morning and gave a speech about LGBT human rights in honor of the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Her speech served as a solid statement following the Obama administration’s announcement this morning that it is instructing federal agencies and diplomats to protect and promote LGBT rights internationally.
This is an amazing speech which, unfortunately, may never be endorsed by any Caribbean leader in our lifetime.
Two weeks ago, Keisha Brathwaite - a mother of two children with another on the way - broke into an unoccupied Government housing unit in Barbarees Hill, St. Michael, claiming that she was desperate for a place to live after her abusive boyfriend beat her and evicted her from his home.
The woman immediately changed the locks on the illegally occupied unit, and reportedly informed the Royal Barbados Police Force and the National Housing Corporation about what she’d done. For weeks, Brathwaite remained in the unit and ignored eviction notices from authorities, until those same authorities granted her a house of her own in another location.
There was intense public outcry, largely from middle class Barbadians, against Government’s rewarding of Brathwaite’s illegal actions: Says one,
I could never dream of getting a house from NHC, neither do I qualify for a mortgage. You have two kids and you are a single mum…go and take up a house and change the locks then.
Where did she get the money from to change the locks? I wont comment on her personal situation because none of us really know but whether it be in Barbados or any where else in the world, this whole attitude of “this is my right” has gone too far. Nobody wants these kids out on the street, but it is very frustrating for people who are hardworking and yet still struggling to see people like her get handouts without lifting a finger.
And, yet another,
I am so sick and tired of the “I am entitled” attitude of some of us Bajans out there and this is a classic example of the government aiding and abetting these people in utter shit! Maybe we should have skipped school and then I would have a house, car and three children all on the tax payers money!
Others were however sympathetic to Brathwaite’s plight:
Yes she is wrong but we are not living in a world of absolutes. She never said she was entitled to a house. She has apologized repeatedly for what she did and actually informed on herself - to the police, the NHC and then the media. Goodness knows if the NHC would have acted if she had not gone to the media and confessed and it caused a furore.
Jobs are hard to find as we all know. You may have the education that will give you a job. Keisha clearly doesn’t.
That said, one of the universally established human rights is shelter.
I’m not sure how to feel about this myself. If there is anything that the recent #Occupy movements around the world have demonstrated it is that a lot of people feel disenfranchised and are angry - with good reason - about the broadening equality gap. Keisha Brathwaite is either a desperate woman who did the wrong thing in order to get basic shelter, or she’s an indigent freeloader on the state who does not deserve to benefit from others’ taxes. Which one is she?
By Sir Ronald Sanders
(International consultant and former Caribbean diplomat)
A statement by the Prime Minister of Britain, David Cameron, that his government will not provide budgetary aid to governments that violate human rights including by discriminating against homosexuals and lesbians, has angered sections of Caribbean society.
The angry response may have arisen over a misunderstanding of Cameron’s remarks made in a BBC interview at the end of the 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth, Australia from 28 to 30 October. The remarks were not made at CHOGM itself.
While Cameron did say that his government would not provide general budget support to governments that do not uphold human rights including the rights of homosexuals, lesbians and vulnerable communities such as young girls, his remarks were not specifically about homosexuals and he did not say that that all aid would be withheld. In any event, no independent Caribbean country is a recipient of General Budget Aid from Britain, and, therefore, none would be affected. In this regard, the response to Cameron’s remarks would have benefitted from more careful study.
“It’s discrimination to stop us from discriminating against gays!”
Let me just say that I fundamentally disagree with the narrow argument presented by this author i.e., that ‘tolerance doesn’t only mean tolerance for gays, but for those who choose to discriminate against gays’.
Unfortunately, the same has been uttered in the Commonwealth countries of the Caribbean, with hardly enough discussion on why eliminating legislated discrimination against homosexuals - regardless of David Cameron’s views - is a moral and democratic imperative.
UK’s aid ban on countries that outlaw gay rights smacks of double standards
Money speaks, or so the saying goes. And it came to pass that when the recent Commonwealth leaders summit in Perth, Australia, failed to adopt a recommendation seeking to end “homophobic laws” — whatever those are — British Prime Minister David Cameron sunk into an almighty sulk and issued an aid fatwa on anti-gay countries.
Forty out of 54 countries representing almost 75 per cent of the Club membership outlaw homosexuality and Mr Cameron singled out Malawi, Uganda, Nigeria and Ghana as likely victims of Britain’s aid ban.
On Thursday, protests from Daily Nationreaders came fast and furious as they took issue with the denigrating policy.
For the benefit of those who may have missed their Thursday paper, a few highlights from readers’ responses to the “Question of the day” will suffice.
“They appear inclined to influence various states into homosexuality,” James Kanyi said, while Charles Nzioka accused Britain of forcing “begging countries to allow gayism in exchange for aid”.
“Better no aid but preserve your culture,” Elias Muindi said, while Harun Maina called the pro-gay policy neo-colonialist.
And in a stand-alone letter to the editor on the same day, regular contributor Alexander Chagema told the West to “feel free to practice moral decadence if it chooses to but must stop exporting it to Africa”.
It was disturbing, he said, that “decades after the fall of the British empire, overtones of its imperialism still linger in the Commonwealth”.
Chagema’s observation that Britain had ceded its position as “master of the world to being America’s altar boy” is harsh but apt inasmuch as America is the key proponent of tolerance — an amorphous principle that’s steeped in hypocrisy and double standards.
In the current debate, Britain is applying a double standard as regards tolerance because it is invoking the principle to suit the tiny but highly noisy gay rights lobby, even as it blocks its ears to questions about the right to life of millions in developing countries, whose survival is threatened by the pro-gay policy.
I insist that the gay lobby is driven not by Wanjiku, whose concern at this time is to survive a particularly harsh economic climate, but by an elitist minority, whose agenda is to subvert not just the Christian mores that shape the lives of more than 80 per cent of Kenyans, but also the cultural norms of most Africans.
Only recently the Nation carried a story of the impending break-up of a much-hyped gay wedding that was received with high accolades by the gay lobby only a couple of years ago.
Even as one of the partners indicated he had doubts right from the start, meaning the whole union was a sham, there was deafening silence from the gay fraternity at the break-up. Truth is, it was doomed to fail because it was not a marriage to start with.
In spite of the unfortunate claw-back clause in the Bill of Rights that proscribes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, our Constitution only recognises marriage between a man and a woman.
Tolerance should be reciprocal, and even as Britain calls anti-gay laws “intolerant” and wields the aidrungu to cow them into reversing their stance, it should practise what it preaches by tolerating countries that have issues with same-sex unions.