Belizean referendum on territorial dispute with Guatemala generates protests

Peaceful Assembly

A referendum on whether Belize's long-standing territorial dispute with Guatemala should be taken to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) became a divisive issue in the country. Generating both support and opposition demonstrations, the referendum initially scheduled to take place on April 10th 2019 was postponed after opposition People's United Party (PUP) filed an injunction questioning its constitutionality. 

The Belize Peace Movement (BPM) accused PUP of "playing politics" with the issue, but still welcomed the postponement because it views the Belize Territorial Dispute Referendum Bill 2019 as an attempt to go around the Belize Constitution. While discussion on the Bill continued in the National Assembly, supporters of the governing United Democratic Party (UDP) gathered to demonstrate support for the referendum. Finally the referendum was held on May 8th, after government administration managed to pass a Bill through Parliament.

Demonstrations in favour and against the referendum proceeded normally and no violations were reported. 

Tags: protest