Today the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) kicked off a nationwide campaign to foster sensitisation and dialogue around the theme of equal rights for all. The “We are one” effort combines mass media messages and engagement surrounding the mistreatment of persons from the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community with an outlet for people across Belize to express their solidarity with the concept of equality.
“People who believe in upholding the dignity and rights of every individual will wear wrist-bands reading ‘we are one in dignity and rights’,” explained UNIBAM executive president, Caleb Orozco. The campaign is part of a multi-tiered effort to bring Belize’s tolerance challenge into perspective and find solutions. Already a legal challenge of the country’s colonial laws pertaining to sex between men is underway. And Orozco reveals that research is currently being conducted into the perceptions of rights enforcement of teachers, the police and members of the military.
“We are collecting evidence about the layered homophobia and the challenge of stigma reduction,” he noted.
The “We are one” campaign brings together people representing the spectrum of Belizean society in terms of age, ethnicity, sexual orientation and religious belief. It combines the voices of well-known figures such as human rights attorney, Antoinette Moore, with those of average Belizeans.
“The system as a whole speaks about rights enforcement but does not do any specific thing to hold true to it,” Orozco said. “This campaign calls for every person to wear a wristband as a visible sign of solidarity. It is an acknowledgement that all Belizeans have human rights that need to be respected.”
Caption: UNIBAM executive president, Caleb Orozco