March 7, 2021

The future of the UK Overseas Territories inquiry – Foreign Affairs Committee’s Inquiry

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From Leonardo Raznovich


I felt compelled to expand my written evidence in relation to this inquiry in particular after the unanimous decision of the Bermudian Court of Appeal which confirmed the illegality of the Domestic Partnership Act 2018 passed by the Bermudian government last February with the complicity of the UK government.   The Foreign Affairs Committee has today accepted and published my submission <http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/foreign-affairs-committee/the-future-of-the-uk-overseas-territories/written/93932.html>    See also below:

Written evidence from Dr Leonardo Raznovich (OTS0122)

It seems important to me to highlight the obvious in that this inquiry provides Parliament an unprecedented opportunity to make sure that the rule of law, in particular international obligations of Her Majesty’s Government such as those contracted under the European Convention on Human Rights, are complied with in every single corner of the U.K. I am particularly concerned in relation to the violation of LGBTI rights in the British Overseas Territories of the Caribbean.   Please note that I am not suggesting that the U.K should impose its policies as it once did in colonial times; rather, I am stating that the rule of law and the international obligations, under which Her Majesty’s government is bound, are also binding on and must be complied with in all of the U.K. territories to which these obligations have been extended as is the case in respect of the British Overseas Territories and the European Convention on Human Rights; if the Westminster Parliament complies with the Convention, it defies common sense that the legislatures of these territories are allowed to breach it. It is therefore unacceptable that the local governments of the British Overseas Territories of the Caribbean (Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos, Anguilla, Monserrat and BVI) remain recalcitrantly reluctant to comply with the European Convention on Human Rights. In respect to LGBTI matters, these territories are almost 20 years behind. It is most disturbing that the FCO protects them in that enterprise and even assists them to breach the law as the case in Bermuda illustrates, although now it has been rightly corrected by the Bermudian judiciary.  

The inquiry provides Parliament the opportunity to step in and to secure equality and the rule of law for all British citizens in all corners of the United Kingdom.

I would like, therefore, humbly to suggest that the Foreign Affairs Select Committee considers:

      to issue a strong statement in light of all the evidence submitted to the inquiry regarding the systemic failures of the FCO in securing good governance for all the people of the territories in particular LGBTI people; and

       to include amongst its conclusions/recommendations a statement instructing Her Majesty’s Government that the FCO must secure good governance for all people in theBritish Overseas Territories, in particular LGBTI people, by utilising within the next three years all legal means available to Her Majesty’s government in circumstances where thelocal governments of the Territories remain unwilling to comply with the international obligations of Her Majesty’s Government in relation to LGBTI people, such as those underthe European Convention on Human Rights.      


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