Commonwealth Human Rights dismisses same-sex relations

A high-level official from the Commonwealth Secretariat does not believe that the controversial “Rights and Freedoms Bill” which is one of the seven Bills for next week’s Constitution Referendum makes reference to same-sex relations.

Karen Mc Kenzie - Head of Human Rights at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London

Karen Mc Kenzie – Head of Human Rights at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London

That’s the view of Head of Human Rights at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, Karen Mc Kenzie who is in Grenada to assist with the public education programme.

McKenzie appeared on last “Sunday’s with George Grant Programme” dealing with the “Rights and Freedoms Bill which is one of the pieces of legislation that the Grenadian Electorate are being called upon to vote at the referendum on October 27th.

She said: “From what we see and looking at the provisions in the ‘Rights and Freedoms Bill’, we don’t see any link to the decriminalisation of same-sex relations, and we don’t see any provision which supports same-sex marriage”.

The Commonwealth Official who is from South Africa told the host of the programme that the delegation  looked at the piece of legislation very thoroughly before being deployed to Grenada.

She said they knew that the issue of same-sex relations in the Bill was “raising its head” before being deployed, and their analysis is that it is not part of the referendum.

She said they were only made aware of the concerns relating to same-sex relations from the media and by some people.

She wondered where people are getting this idea from.

However, McKenzie explained that for the Commonwealth Human Rights this is democracy at work where people can raise their issues, and are not muzzled.

“They have the freedom to speak and to express themselves with a range of stakeholders,” she quipped.

Mc Kenzie said her team is not in Grenada to force anybody to do anything, but trying to clarify some of the issues facing the Bill.

She pointed out that the Commonwealth’s role is to look at the issues, give advice pertaining to the international human rights law, and to engage the people as part of the ongoing process.

The Commonwealth official believes it is always important that under the “Rights and Freedoms Bill” it is necessary to listen to the voices ahead of the referendum, and to clarify issues.

“It is about transparency, it’s about participation, it’s about inclusion, and so listening to the voices… is absolutely critical,” she said.

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