Human Trafficking in  [Belize]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Belize]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Belize]  [other countries]
Torture in  [Belize]  [other countries]

Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century                                                          


In this small, essentially private-enterprise economy, tourism is the number one foreign exchange earner followed by exports of marine products, citrus, cane sugar, bananas, and garments.

Major concerns continue to be the sizable trade deficit and unsustainable foreign debt equivalent to nearly 70% of GDP.

A key short-term objective remains the reduction of poverty with the help of international donors.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Belize

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Belize.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.

*** ARCHIVES ***

Belize Human Rights -- Areas of concern: Police abuses, children's rights, death penalty

Amnesty International USA

[accessed 16 Jan 2014]

ABUSES BY POLICE - There were several reports of abuses by police, including torture, ill-treatment and arbitrary detention.

Three men, a father and his two sons, were arrested separately in July, on suspicion of withholding evidence related to a bank robbery. All three were reportedly beaten and subjected to electric shock torture before being released without charge.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 21 January 2013]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – While the constitution prohibits torture or other inhuman punishment, there were numerous reports that police and prison staff used excessive force.

Common complaints received by the Office of the Ombudsman alleged misconduct and abuse by police and Department of Corrections personnel. Several cases of alleged abuse featured in the press were never reported to the Office of the Ombudsman or to the Office of Internal Affairs and Discipline for investigation. In a number of cases, the government ignored reports of abuses, withheld action until the case had faded from the public's attention, and then failed to take punitive action or transferred accused officers to other districts. The government took action on 74 of 81 complaints registered with the Office of Internal Affairs and Discipline. The ombudsman's office received 109 general complaints of police abuse and resolved 101 cases. The ombudsman determined that police use of force was appropriate in the majority of cases investigated, even if the level of force used was sometimes excessive.

At year's end the Office of Internal Affairs was investigating the claim by John and Frans Faux that Dangriga police tortured them in July by means of electric shock and beating.

A Supreme Court hearing was scheduled for 2006 in the case of police constable Julio Shal charged in March 2004 with attempted killing, deadly means of harm, and possession of a firearm while under the influence of alcohol, resulting in the shooting injury of Pedro Guzman.

During the year authorities dropped the charges of dangerous harm brought against police constable Clayton Marin in connection with the 2004 beating of Emile Pinelo. Charges of dangerous harm brought against former police constable Cyril Wade in connection with the same beating were maintained, with a civilian trial date to be set for Wade in 2006.

On January 5, authorities acquitted police superintendent Ewart Itza of all charges stemming from a 2003 brutality investigation. Prosecutors appealed his case to the Supreme Court, and the appeal was pending at year's end.

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 1   Civil Liberties: 2   Status: Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 21 January 2013]

The judiciary is independent and nondiscriminatory, and the rule of law is generally respected. Despite an increase in crime, the heavy backlog of cases decreased in 2007 because of several dismissals. However, the proportion of inmates awaiting trial rose to 23.5 percent in 2008, from 21.7 percent in 2007. Cases are often prolonged for years while defendants are free on bail. Reports of police misconduct are investigated by the department’s internal affairs office or by an ombudsman’s office. Extrajudicial killing and use of excessive force are among the country’s primary human rights concerns.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Belize",, [accessed <date>]



Human Trafficking in  [Belize]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Belize]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Belize]  [other countries]
Torture in  [Belize]  [other countries]