According to the Constitution of Belize, Section 4(2) it is legal for police to shoot unarmed people to protect property and prevent a non-violent crime. This could include, perhaps, your teenage son or daughter trying to escape arrest who has not otherwise broken any other law.
The Constitution of Belize States:
“A person shall not be regarded as having been deprived of his life in contravention of this section if he dies as the result of the use, to such extent and in such circumstances as are permitted by law, of such force as is reasonably justifiable:
(a) for the defence of any person from violence or for the defence of property;
(b) in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape of a person lawfully detained;
(c) for the purpose of suppressing a riot, insurrection or mutiny; or
(d) in order to prevent the commission by that person of a criminal offence,
or if he dies as the result of a lawful act of war.”
While the use of lethal force may be justified in protecting others from physical harm, protecting property and preventing non-violent crime should never justify anybody’s death. This section of the Constitution of Belize neither complies with
international law nor reflects a valuing of human life. It violates our human rights.
Importantly, because of institutionalised racism, lethal force and other police violence is also more likely to be used against black people and indigenous people in our communities. This has been demonstrated time and time again through countless stories both in Belize and internationally. George Floyd was just one person that this happened to, and as a society, we can do better.
We demand that the National Assembly amend the Constitution of Belize to comply with the 1990 United Nations’ Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, and that Belize become a state party to the 1969 American Convention on Human Rights for the benefit and well-being of all Belizeans.
Sign this petition if you believe that the law should protect and serve the people of this country.
Thank you Mikaila.