ERC Statement on Decriminalisation in Saint Kitts and Nevis & Antigua and Barbuda
02 September 2022
Statement by the Equal Rights Coalition regarding the decriminalisation of consensual same-sex activity between adults in Saint Kitts and Nevis & Antigua and Barbuda
The Equal Rights Coalition (ERC) welcomes the decision by the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in the Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis’ (St. Kitts and Nevis) to strike down the country’s buggery law, and last July’s ruling of the High Court of Justice for Antigua and Barbuda striking down discriminatory legal provisions that criminalized same-sex relations. These rulings affirm the constitutional rights of LGBTIQ+ citizens in St. Kitts and Nevis and Antigua and Barbuda, and they are an important step towards societies where people’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression is not used for discrimination or stigmatization.
These landmark rulings are the result of a five-country legal challenge launched by The Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality (ECADE) in 2020. The Equal Rights Coalition applauds the work done by ECADE and their partners. The ERC also recognizes the historic implications of this work for the advancement of the human rights of LGBTIQ+ persons in St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda and the wider region.
It is encouraging to see a growing global momentum towards decriminalisation and we hope this pace of reform continues in the coming months. We encourage governments in the Caribbean region – seven of which still have laws that criminalize same-sex conduct – to recognize the progress that has been made in St. Kitts and Nevis and Antigua and Barbuda and to consider undertaking proactive legal reforms to repeal their own outdated legislation. As ERC member states, we commit to championing this reform globally because all humans are born free and equal in dignity and rights and deserve to be treated that way.