From the 10 October to 16 November 2017, Mauritius was reviewed by the United Nations Human Rights Committee at the 121st session around the Convention for Civil and Political Rights (CCPR). Among many issues, with the support of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), the Young Queer Alliance submitted an alternative report to highlight the violations of human rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) persons as well as advocated for a number of rights of LGBT people in Mauritius such as decriminalisation of consensual sodomy among adults, protection from hate crimes, marriage equality and civil partnership among others.
Jürgen from Young Queer Alliance (Mauritius) delivering a statement about LGBT rights before the UN Human Rights Committee.
This 9th November 2017, the United Nations Human Rights Committee (HRCtee) submitted its Concluding Observations on this 5th periodic review of Mauritius. The HRCtee in fact highlighted that:
“The Committee is concerned about reported cases of hate speech and violence including death threats, brutality and humiliation against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons. The Committee is also concerned that LGBT persons are not authorized to officially enter marriage or civil partnerships, and are denied other rights related to personal status. The Committee is further concerned that the provision of article 250 of the Criminal Code of Mauritius criminalizing “sodomy” and “bestiality” has not yet been repealed (arts. 2 and 23).”
While the position of the State of Mauritius was quite homophobic and adverse to safeguarding and promoting LGBT rights as human rights; while altogether being evasive and incoherent in their replies; the HRCtee, in all objectivity made the following concluding observations to the State of Mauritius:
“The State party should firmly prevent and protect LGBT persons from all forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, include this ground of discrimination in all relevant legislation, including in the Criminal Code. The State party should also take all the necessary measures to eradicate discrimination against LGBT persons with regard to marriage or civil partnerships and repeal article 250 of the Criminal Code. Furthermore, the State party should ensure that all complaints of violence including death threats and brutality based on discrimination against LGBT persons, are registered by the police, investigated and those responsible are duly prosecuted and, if convicted, sanctioned with appropriate penalties. Moreover, the State party should train police officers, judges and prosecutors, and conduct awareness-raising campaigns on the rights of LGBT persons.”
The Young Queer Alliance views this stand of the Human Rights Committee as an essential move towards achieving equality for LGBT persons in Mauritius, where LGBT people can live as equal citizens enjoying the same rights and conditions as any other person.
This big leap towards recognition and promotion of LGBT rights would not have been possible without:
- the YQA research and advocacy department and people who supported anonymously in writing the alternative report;
- cases of violations of rights of LGBT persons in Mauritius that was highlighted in the report;
- technical support from ILGA;
- impartial stand of the HRCtee despite the presence of the Chief Justice of Mauritius defending the unjust position of the Government of Mauritius; and,
- Our long time standing activist and queer feminist, LASAVANNE Jürgen Soocramanien who represented YQA at the United Nations under the coaching and support of the president, Fokeerbux N.A.
The YQA will always work within its capacity to support LGBT persons and promote the rights of LGBT persons. While the YQA has no trust in the current government, the YQA is looking forward to the enforcement by the State of Mauritius of recommendations of the HRCtee in ensuring respect and promotion of LGBT rights as Human rights because at the YQA, we firmly believe that
“…being human is the sole prerequisite to have equal human rights…”
A full-copy of the United Nations Human Rights Committee: Concluding observations on the fifth periodic report of Mauritius can be downloaded here