On Monday, the High Court of Barbados struck down colonial-era laws that criminalized homosexuality.
The decision was made with regards to what are known as the “buggery” and “serious indecency” laws in the country’s Sexual Offenses Act. The laws, which criminalized same-sex relations and gender non-conforming behavior, carried maximum sentences of 10 years to life in prison.
“This is a resounding victory for LGBT people in Barbados,” said Téa Braun, Chief Executive of the legal advocacy organization, Human Dignity Trust, in a statement published by Pink News.
Luisa Cabal, UNAIDS Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, also praised the decision, calling it “a significant step towards protecting the human rights and dignity of LGBT people in Barbados.”
She added, “It will also strengthen the country’s HIV response by helping reduce stigma and discrimination faced by LGBT people and increasing the uptake of HIV testing, treatment, and prevention services.”
Barbados follows two other Caribbean nations – St. Kitts and Nevis, and Antigua and Barbuda – which both struck down laws criminalizing homosexuality earlier this year.
Six countries in the region continue to criminalize homosexuality, according to Human Dignity Trust: the island nations of Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Guyana in South America.