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(Geneva) – Saint Lucia and Saint Kitts and Nevis should decriminalize same-sex relations and adopt comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, Human Rights Watch said today. During the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the two countries’ human rights records on June 19 and 20 at the United Nations Human Rights Council, United Nations member states expressed serious concern over the nations’ laws that criminalize same-sex sexual conduct, in violation of international human rights law. Both countries prohibit “buggery,” imposing sentences of up to 10 years. Saint Lucia also criminalizes “gross indecency” in private between consenting persons of the same sex. “While colonial-era buggery and gross indecency laws in Saint Lucia and in Saint Kitts and Nevis are seldom enforced against consenting people, their impact is pernicious,” said Cristian González Cabrera, LGBT rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Laws criminalizing same-sex conduct reinforce prejudices and provide social and legal sanction for discrimination, violence, and prejudice against LGBT people.”

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