LGBTI Human Rights in the Caribbean

University of The West Indies – Mona, Jamaica
Friday, June 7, 2013

Sponsored by
The University of the West Indies
The Network of Latin American Scholars on Gender, Sexuality and Legal Education ALAS
The Williams Institute
The Impact Litigation Project at WCL

Almost six years since the 2007 launch of the Yogyakarta Principles on the Application of International Human Rights Law in relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, LGBTI rights remain peripheral to human rights movements in the Caribbean.  In similar fashion, LGBTI communities and rights advocates in the region continue to experience extreme marginalization.  On June 7, 2013, Caribbean litigators, academics, civil society leaders, and LGBTI community members will gather to discuss the strengthening of the regional advocacy network, advocacy strategies, and the future of LGBTI human rights in the Caribbean.

For more information, please email Macarena Saez at


8:00 – 8:30 am    Registration
8:30 – 9:00 am    Opening Remarks


9:15 – 10:30 am    Identifying, Documenting, and Reporting Rights Abuses Against LGBTI Persons

Panelists will address current issues relating to LGBTI rights abuses, including issues of law enforcement, civil discrimination and confidentiality and safety concerns.

Gary Gates, Williams Distinguished Scholar, The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law
Jaevion Nelson, Activist, Jamaica
Se-shauna Wheatle, Stipendiary lecturer, Exeter College, Oxford, UK
Janeille Matthews (moderator) Lecturer, University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica

10:45 am – 12:00 pm      The Role of the Legal Profession in Strengthening LGBTI Human Rights Norms

Panelists will discuss the pros and cons of litigation and advocacy; the role of legal academia; and the challenges of developing a human rights curriculum to mainstream LGBTI rights issues into traditional legal training.

Lisa Shoman, Human Rights Attorney – Belize
Ritchie Maitland, Human Rights Attorney – Grenada
Colin Robinson, Executive Director, The Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation – Trinidad and Tobago
Lara Stemple, Director, Health & Human Rights Law Project, UCLA School of Law
Ginna Anderson (moderator), American Bar Association

12:00 – 1:00 pm    LUNCH BREAK


1:15 – 2:30 pm     Harmonizing Advocacy: Lobbying, Litigating, and Grassroots Organizing

Panelists will address existing dissonance in advocacy strategies and potential synergies between advocates, litigators, civil society leaders, and the public.

Rishi Dass, Human Rights AttorneyTrinidad and Tobago
Dane Lewis, President, Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays
Vidya Kissoon, Activist, Guyana (*by video link)
Erin Greene, Rainbow Alliance, the Bahamas
Arif Bulkan (moderator), Lecturer, University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago

2:45 – 3:45 pm     Ensuring Safety in a Culturally Charged Atmosphere

Panelists will discuss the potential retaliation against LGBTI rights advocates and propose systems of managing and responding to threats of violence.

Colleen McEwan, Executive Director, Guyana Rainbow Foundation, Guyana
Caleb Orozco, Executive President, United Belize Advocacy Movement – Belize
Darryl Phillip, Founder, CHAP – Dominica
Maurice Tomlinson, Attorney-at-Law
Westmin James (moderator), Lecturer in Law, UWI, Cave Hill, Barbados

4:00 – 5:15 pm     Gender, Sexuality and Violence

Panelists will explore the convergences and divergences between approaches to gender violence and LGBT violence.

María Mercedes Gómez, Program Coordinator, IGLHRC; Co-ordinator, ALAS Network
Charmaine Crawford, Lecturer, IGDS, UWI, Cave Hill, Barbados
Taitu Heron, Postgraduate Researcher, SALISES, UWI, Mona campus, Jamaica
Brenda Smith, Professor of Law, Washington College of Law, American University
Macarena Saez (moderator), Professor of Law, American University; Chair, Impact Litigation Project

5:30 – 7:00 pm    Closing Reception & Book Launch: “Gender and Sexuality in Latin America: cases and Decisions”

This is the first casebook that analyzes legal decisions affecting gender and sexuality in Latin America.  The original version edited by legal scholars Cristina Motta and Macarena Saez was published in Spanish in 2008.  The abridged and updated version in English has been recently published by Springer, with the aim of facilitating a dialogue on gender and sexuality between Spanish and English speaking activists and scholars.

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