Dutch Ambassador to Belize Meets LGBT Organisations for Belize Independence Day Celebrations

2018

Last Thursday, the Dutch Ambassador to Belize, Ms. Margriet Leemhuis, met with 4 Belizean LGBT organisations for the first time to learn more about their efforts in supporting the LGBT community in Belize. The Dutch Ambassador was accompanied by Ms. Rut Geverin, the Norwegian Ambassador to Belize. The LGBT organisations presented on their work, spoke […]

Last Thursday, the Dutch Ambassador to Belize, Ms. Margriet Leemhuis, met with 4 Belizean LGBT organisations for the first time to learn more about their efforts in supporting the LGBT community in Belize. The Dutch Ambassador was accompanied by Ms. Rut Geverin, the Norwegian Ambassador to Belize.

The LGBT organisations presented on their work, spoke about the opportunities and challenges faced by LGBT in Belize and of the entry points they see to advance the human rights of their community in the country. Belize is up for review at the Human Rights Council in October and the Belizean LGBT civil society has drafted and submitted its viewpoints on the progress for LGBT in the country. Despite, promising developments – such as the decriminalization of homosexuality in 2016 – there remains ample room for improvement of the legal, social and socio-economic position of LGBT in the country.

Ms. Margriet Leemhuis is the first Dutch Ambassador to Belize (based in Mexico)to meet with the Belizean LGBT civil society. The Netherlands is a supporter of LGBTI rights worldwide and a strategic partner of COC Netherlands. The ambassador expressed great interest in the LGBT movement in the country however, the statistics on violence in Belize presented at the diplomatic briefing led to her being concerned about the safety of LGBT leaders along with the community.

Ms. Leemhuis invited her ambassador colleagues from France, Finland, Belgium and the UN Mission representative. Ambassador Ericksson was impressed that a woman from the community was making a speech in front of diplomats and emphasized that in his country women’s issues were at the forefront.

They were briefed on the UPR and ICCPR where Belize is up for review and about the Anti-Discrimination bill that the community wishes to present to Cabinet. PETAL, UniBAM, BYEC, EYBM and unexpectedly, TIA the trans organization, all spoke on their challenges and achievements. Challenges being long term funding and security and achievements being that the LGBT movement has been able to celebrate PRIDE with various activities for two years now, bringing the wider LGBT Community out and together.

Much emphasis was placed on the Dutch government funding the community in Belize to achieve their many goals.