June 1, 2005 – Time Magazine
A Welcome Mat for Gays in the Caribbean?
by Tim Padgett
Gay and lesbian tourists accounted for more than 10% of the $88 billion Americans spent abroad last year. Yet they feel most unwelcome closest to home—in the Caribbean, which, despite its relaxed image in TV ads, has been rife with homophobic acts, like the stabbing last year of a gay activist in Jamaica. The Cayman Islands has turned away gay cruises in recent years, and travel agents often remind gay couples to avoid public affection or face fines and harassment on islands like Barbados, where homosexuality is outlawed.
In March passengers on a gay cruise from Miami were barred from disembarking on Nevis, part of St. Kitts-Nevis, where a port official, according to the ship’s captain, told them gays were a threat to "national security." Partly in response to those incidents, the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has started a campaign to "buy-cott" certain spots—encouraging gay tourists to direct their dollars only to gay-friendly destinations.
And with Caribbean tourism lagging since 9/11, a more welcoming attitude is starting to become apparent in some places. St. Thomas now openly advertises gay bed-and-breakfasts and gay weddings. In Puerto Rico, both major candidates in last year’s gubernatorial race pledged to respect gay rights. And after the March cruise-ship incident, Nevis Tourism Minister Malcolm Guishard took pains to try to defuse anger over the flap, calling it an "unfortunate but isolated" event and stressing that his island "welcomes any sexual orientation."
26 June 2008 – irb-cisr.gc.ca
Saint Kitts and Nevis: The situation of homosexuals; state protection and availability of support groups
Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa
Information on the situation of homosexuals in Saints Kitts and Nevis (also known as St. Christopher and Nevis) was scarce among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate. However, a country report on HIV/AIDS in Saint Kitts and Nevis by the Ministry of Health states that "homophobia is rampant" (St. Christopher and Nevis 2007, 17). The report provides the following information: The stigma associated with male-to-male [MSM] sex leads some homosexuals to have a female partner as an alibi… . Also, the illegal status of ‘buggery’ drives MSM underground, thus impeding access to health education and STD/HIV treatment.
Cultural taboos around HIV, sex and sexuality are barriers to access sexual health services. (ibid.) According to the United States (US) Department of State’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2007, "anecdotal evidence suggested that societal discrimination against homosexuals and persons with HIV/AIDS occurred" (11 Mar. 2008, Sec. 5).
A report on Saint Kitts and Nevis by the United Kingdom (UK) Foreign and Commonwealth Office indicates that "[c]ertain homosexual acts are illegal under the laws of St. Kitts and Nevis" (19 May 2008). The International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) corroborates this information in its May 2008 report on state-sponsored homophobia and refers to sections of the Saint Kitts and Nevis "Offences Against the Person Act":
"The abominable crime of buggery" – up to 10 years imprisonment, with or without hard labour.
"Whosoever attempts to commit the said abominable crime, or is guilty of any assault with intent to commit the same, or of any indecent assault upon any male person, is guilty of misdemeanour, and being convicted thereof shall be liable to be imprisoned for any term not exceeding four (4) years with or without hard labour." (ILGA May 2008; see also Reding Dec. 2003, 83)
The 2003 report Sexual Orientation and Human Rights in the Americas indicates that, in Saint Kitts and Nevis, "any indecent assault upon any male person" may result in up to four years of imprisonment (Reding 2003, 83). The report also states that "indecent assault" is not precisely defined so it "could potentially encompass any behaviour perceived as a homosexual advance" (ibid.). Country Reports 2007 states that, in Saint Kitts and Nevis, "[t]here are no laws that prohibit discrimination against a person on the basis of sexual orientation" (11 Mar. 2008, Sec. 5).
In contrast to the aforementioned information, a 19 August 2006 British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) article states that at the 16th International Conference on AIDS in Toronto, Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis Denzil Douglas was reported to have said that "consenting adults should be allowed to enter into homosexual relationships… ."
Information on the availability of support groups could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response. 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 additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). 19 August 2006. "Caribbean States Should Legalize Homosexuality, Prostitution – St Kitts PM." (Factiva)
International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA). May 2008. Daniel Ottosson. "Saint Kitts and Nevis." State-Sponsored Homophobia: A World Survey of Laws Prohibiting Same Sex Activity Between Consenting Adults. <http://www.ilga.org/statehomophobia/ILGA_State_Sponsored_ Homophobia_2008.pdf> [Accessed 28 May 2008]
Reding, Andrew. December 2003. World Policy Institute. "Sexual Orientation and Human Rights in the Americas." (Asylumlaw.org) <http://www.asylumlaw.org/docs/sexualminorities/worldpolicyinstitute_ americas_LGBTrights.pdf> [Accessed 4 June 2008]
St. Christopher and Nevis. 2007. Ministry of Health. "Follow-up to the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS (UNGASS)." (UNAIDS) <http://data.unaids.org/pub/Report/2008/saint%20kitts_and_nevis_2008_country_progress_report_en.pdf> [Accessed 28 May 2008]
United Kingdom (UK). 19 May 2008. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). "Saint Christopher and Nevis (St. Kitts and Nevis)." <http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travelling-and-living-overseas/travel-advice-by-country/north-central-america/saint-christopher-nevis-st-kitts> [Accessed 28 May 2008]
United States (US). 11 March 2008. Department of State. "Saint Kitts and Nevis." Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2007. <http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100651.htm> [Accessed 24 Apr. 2008]
Additional Sources Consulted
Oral sources: Attempts to contact a professor and author of a book on homosexuality in the Caribbean and an official at the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) were unsuccessful.
Internet sites, including: Amnesty International (AI), Avert.org, CARICOM Law, European Country of Origin Information Network (ecoi.net), Freedom House, Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), Gay Planet Holidays, Gay Times, Gayguide.net, Gay/Lesbian International News Network, GlobaLex, Human Rights Watch (HRW), International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), Legislationline.org, Queer Resources Directory, Sodomy Laws, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI).
22 December 2008 – Amnesty International
Public Statement – AI index: AMR 59/001/2008
St Kitts and Nevis: Execution is a shameless act
Amnesty International considers the execution of Charles Elroy Laplace carried out in St. Kitts and Nevis on Friday 19th December as a shameless human rights development for the country after 10 years of moratorium. Amnesty International understands concerns about the upsurge of crime and murders in the country. However, the organization strongly believes that the use of the death penalty, as well as constituting cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, is not an effective method for preventing crime.
Given the unlikelihood of ever being brought before the courts, it is quite implausible that before committing a crime a criminal would consider the risk of being hung and would refrain from wrong-doing. The death penalty also runs the risk of irrevocable error.
Protection of citizens does not come from executing criminals but from preventing them from committing crimes. Amnesty International therefore believes that the true solution to the deteriorating crime situation lies with the strengthening of police capacities. The proper functioning of the justice system is also crucial to ensure compensation to victims but such compensation cannot come from claiming the life of the wrong-doer.
The world is turning away from the use of death penalty. Before last Friday’s execution, since 2003, the United States has been the only country in the Americas to carry out executions, even in the USA there has been a dramatic decrease in the number of executions in recent years. One hundred and thirty seven countries have now abolished the death penalty in law or practice and only 24 nations carried out executions in 2007. Huge swathes of the world are now free from executions. Amnesty International appeals to the St Kitts and Nevis authorities to send a strong message to the world and to the other Caribbean countries by stopping the executions and commuting the sentences of all other prisoners waiting on death row.
Charles Elroy Laplace was executed last Friday 19 December 2009 at 8.00 a.m. at Her Majesty’s Prison in Basseterre, St Kitts. He was tried at the High Court (Criminal Assizes) for the killing of his wife committed in 2004. He was convicted on 28th February 2006 and sentenced to death on 30th March 2006.
According to press reports, St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister and Minister of National Security disclosed that a Notice of Appeal was later filed with the Court of Appeal but was dismissed on the 29th October 2008 for being filed out of time. He added that there was no further Application or Appeal in this matter and therefore in accordance with the Constitution of the Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis the meeting of the Advisory Committee of the Prerogative of Mercy was convened and advised the carrying out of the sentence of the aforementioned Court made on the 30th March 2006.
Friday’s hanging was the first in 10 years. In 1998, David Wilson, aged 28, was hanged for killing a security guard at a hotel four years earlier. One man was hanged in 1981. The last execution in other English-speaking Caribbean countries was carried out in the Bahamas in 2000.
10 February, 2011 – MSM Global Forum
St. Kitts-Nevis Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) references
14. Saint Kitts and Nevis accepted that the criminalization of sexual relations between consenting adults under Sections 56 and 57 of the Offences against the Person Act was controversial. While it was aware of the many arguments advanced by those who would wish to see them repealed, the Government of Saint Kitts and Nevis had no mandate to do so. In fact, there was strong opposition to them being repealed. However, despite their existence on the books, there had been no known prosecution of sexual activity between consenting adults in private within recent years.
05 June, 2011 – MSM Global Forum
Statement at UPR on Saint Kitts and Nevis
by Kenita Placide, COC Netherlands and Caribbean forum for Liberation of genders and sexualities
We are pleased to see that St Kitts and Nevis accepts a recommendation to take measures to effectively combat discrimination on all grounds, including on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. We recommend the government to explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identity in Chapter II of its constitution.
We are concerned about the fact that St. Kitts and Nevis did not accept recommendations to decriminalize same sex sexual activity between consenting adults and repeal laws that discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Whilst it is encouraging to see that St. Kitts and Nevis is willing to engage the public on this issue through a consultative process, we firmly believe that decriminalization of same sex relations should not be a matter of the majority view of society. Reminding the State of St Kitts and Nevis that the rights of any minority cannot be held hostage by the tyranny of the majority.
To quote High Commissioner Mrs Pillay:
“Laws criminalizing homosexuality pose a serious threat to the fundamental rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, exposing them to the risk of arrest, detention and, in some cases, torture and execution. Commonly, criminal sanctions are accompanied by a raft of other discriminatory measures that affect access to a wide range of rights—civil, political, economic, social and cultural. We also know that criminalization perpetuates stigma and contributes to a climate of homophobia, intolerance and violence.”
We hold the view that the legal criminalization of consenting adult same-sex activity is a form of discrimination in itself, and results in a inability for citizens to access their social and cultural rights, and logically in a lack of ability to report human rights violations occurring on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, as individuals might fear legal interventions against them, instead of protection.
St Kitts and Nevis government is reminded that social and cultural change comes with public awareness and education. Thank You