Referendum to decide legality of homosexuality - Government tells Inter-American Commission

20 April 2017

Guayna will soon have a chance to vote on whether they believe homosexuality should remain a criminal act or if those laws which criminalise it should be struck down via a referendum.

The Government made this announcement in a letter to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) following the 161st Ordinary Period of Sessions which addressed issues of human rights violations against young persons in Guyana.

According to the Government in its letter, there are mixed views on the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and sexual identity and repealing of the laws to decriminalise homosexuality.

The executive added that with these existing circumstances, more needs to be done regarding a collective and consensual approach and the implementation to fulfill such rights.

The Government pointed out that the issue of repeal was brought to the attention of the National Assembly on several occasions, but it was deemed unfit for that arm of Government to make a decision on the matter.

As such, the Government noted that “… it was recommended, that the matter be taken to a vote, where the people of Guyana will decide by a referendum on these matters”.

No indication was made as to when this referendum is likely to be held.

The signaled support of President David Granger, for the reformation of the laws with respect to the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community was also referenced in the letter.


Guyana Chronicle, Referendum to decide legality of homosexuality, 20 April 2017

See also: Stabroek News, Gov’t admits more has to be done to prohibit discrimination on basis of sexual orientation, gender ID -in submission to Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, 19 April 2017


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