Some 27 law enforcement officials in Belize participated in the CVC led sensitization session for law enforcement and other social protection service providers, on human rights and key population groups. The sessions which took place on May 11 and 12 were held in collaboration with the National AIDS Commission of Belize and the Human Rights Commission of Belize .
One of the major aim of the sessions was to sensitize police officers and other law enforcement officials on protecting the rights of members of vulnerable population groups including sex workers and LGBT persons.
The sessions were well received, with participants saying it gave them a new perspective on human rights and the LGBT community.
Superintendent Jeffery Gabriel who is the Commander of the Mobile Interdiction Team said the training taught him the importance of respect for all individuals regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation. “One of the most important things that I have learnt is that we as police officers have to ensure that everyone who comes into our custody or care, their rights are not violated and we treat them with the utmost respect and civility. This training was very informative and I’m leaving here with a different view and a different mindset and I’m going back to my unit to teach all the personnel there to respect everyone,” said Commander Gabriel.
For Inspector Francine Solano, Deputy Commander at the National Police Training Academy, the training has given her more insight into the transgender community. “Over the past two days I’ve learnt a lot about the transgender persons and how to deal with them. I also learnt about discrimination and stigma,” she said. Corporal Chantel Berry from the Mobile InterdictionTeam agrees. “This training has enabled me to open my mind more and be receptive to the LGBT community, it allowed me to have a new perspective on them. It also allowed me to realize that they are humans and they have rights exactly the same as any ordinary person in the country. It has also broadened my perspective on everything, sensitizing me on just people in general and allowing me to know that we can’t judge someone based on the decisions they choose to make in life. So for me it was an eye opener, a mind opener,” Corporal Berry noted.
The training was made possible through funding from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS Malaria and Tuberculosis.