Minority Rights Dominica (MiRiDom) is pleased to have the support of the University of the West Indies (UWI) for its rejection of any group of people who are criminalized based on their race, religion or sexual orientation.
In an interview on Jamaican television, vice chancellor of the University of the West Indies (Mona), Professor Nigel Harris, was asked whether it was right to criminalize Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender (LGBT) people.
“They have human rights and in truth by criminalizing them that indeed this denies them of some basic human rights,” he said.
He also mentioned that the health and human rights groups who work in the region hold the view that when dealing with the HIV/AIDS epidemic it is not just a matter of health but also of discrimination and human rights.
Harris stated that the UWI rejected discrimination against any group “based on their race, religion, their sexual orientation.”
He said that the UWI believes that criminalization contributes to stigmatization and discrimination.
Harris was being interviewed on a television program called ‘All Angles’ where the public outcry about the sacking of Professor Brian Bain, head of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training Network (CHART) of the UWI, was being discussed.
The situation arose from Professor Bain’s testimony at a court case in Belize where he testified that repealing the anti-buggery laws would increase the HIV infection rates.
This testimony was discussed by a special UWI advisory committee that reflected on his statements and the importance of how they would affect the continuing relationship with public health and LGBT organizations, which are the core of the CHART program.
The committee felt that he had lost the confidence of the people he had to reach within that particular program.
MiRiDom advocates the repeal of Section 16 of the laws of Dominica that criminalizes consenting adults for same sex practices.
“This denies people their basic human rights to sexual expression,” the organization said.