by Rex Wockner
The Cayman Islands, a British overseas territory, should revise a draft constitution that will be submitted to voters May 20 to ensure it protects everyone from unequal treatment, and the British government should ensure this happens, Human Rights Watch said March 11 in letters to Caymanian Gov. Stuart Jack and British Foreign Secretary David Miliband.
The draft constitution will eliminate a free-standing guarantee of equality before the law and limit anti-discrimination protections only to rights expressly included in the constitution.
“This means that large and critically important areas of daily life would not be covered, including access to jobs, housing, and medical treatment,” HRW said. “Reportedly, the government succumbed to pressure from religious groups, and the action was apparently intended to deny protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.”
Boris Dittrich, advocacy director of HRW’s LGBT Rights Program, accused the British government of “using a double standard, approving a draft constitution for an overseas territory that gives fewer protections than British citizens enjoy at home.”