The Caribbean Observatory Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) of the Caribbean Family Planning Affiliation (CFPA) applauds the repeal of the buggery and gross indecency laws by the Republic of Barbados, confirming its commitment to upholding human rights for all. The oral decision was given by the high court and the written particulars are to be released in January 2023.
Following other historic rulings earlier this year in Antigua and Barbuda (July) and Saint Kitts and Nevis in (August), Barbados is another milestone on the journey to a Caribbean where the sexual rights of its people are respected and protected. This judgement upholds the rights of consenting adults to engage in same-sex intimacy, personal privacy and protection from discrimination on the basis of sex. The case was filed by litigants from Equals Barbados and supported by the Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality (ECADE).
“This decision is an important one, especially as it relates to sexual and reproductive health of the LGBTQ+ community as these laws have perpetuated the stigma around sexual activities of queer folks, resulting in reduced access to quality treatment. This decision reflects the progress that Equals Barbados and other NGOs have made to improve access to sexual and reproductive services of the past few years and will provide the opportunity for us to continue this work.” Michael Rapley – Equals Barbados “This is is a great acknowledgment of the citizens of the country which will serve as a stepping stone in the whole Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights movement. As we know the fundamental decisions in one country will be felt across borders, waters and continents.” Kenita Placide, ECADE Barbados joins Caribbean countries such as Saint Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Cuba, Haiti, The Dominican Republic, Belize, Trinidad and Tobago which have decriminalized same-sex sexual relations. In Suriname, same-sex sexual relations were lawful since 1869. Currently, cases have been launched by civil society organisations and individuals in St. Vincent & Grenadines, Jamaica and Dominica.
The Caribbean SRHR Observatory and CFPA stand in solidarity with all LGBTQ+ advocates and allies and support the move of Caribbean Governments to repeal all discriminatory laws that continue to marginalize and infringe upon the Human Rights of the LGBTQ+ community. The Caribbean observatory on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) continues to monitor and track progress in the region and advocate for not only the change of legislation but the transformation of harmful social norms in communities that continue discrimination against vulnerable populations.