BARBADOS IS COMMITTED to a human rights-based approach to development.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, gave this assurance recently at a regional workshop on The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Process: How to Translate Human Rights Commitments into National Realities. It was held at the Hilton Barbados from July 7 to 9.
She added that this approach extended to the principles of good governance, the rule of law and ensuring that Barbadians have the highest levels of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.
“The Government of Barbados continues to be consistently engaged in a process which seeks to enhance the human rights of all our citizens. We seek to create a just, peaceful and prosperous society for all our citizens. Our public policies and laws are consistently informed by the need to enhance the fundamental human rights and freedoms of our people. This is clearly demonstrated in our longstanding commitment to education, free access to health care, free and fair elections, and our system of good governance.
“This is further evidenced by our active social partnership and respect for labour laws, and our framework of domestic institutions which protect the rights of the child, women, the disabled and the most vulnerable among us,” she explained.
The Minister added, however, that while Barbados had gone through two UPR reviews and was seeking to implement the recommendations emanating from that process, there were constraints as it related to the capacity to do so. “There is a need therefore for international financial support and technical assistance to establish and maintain certain aspects of what has been placed before us in the review process.
“In this regard, we continue to call on the international community to support capacity constrained states in meeting the ever-increasing demands and obligations placed on them,” she stated.
In his opening remarks, United Nations resident coordinator, Stephen O’Malley, explained that the UPR process was established in 2006 by the United Nations General Assembly, and seeks to remind states of their responsibility to respect, protect and fulfil all human rights and fundamental freedoms. “The ultimate aim of this process is to improve the human rights situation in all countries and address human rights violations wherever they occur,” he noted.
O’Malley added that the UPR process had recorded a number of successes so far and that countries across the region had demonstrated their commitment to human rights. “The whole Caribbean region has fully engaged in the UPR, demonstrating their commitment to human rights and a readiness to cooperate with international human rights mechanisms. A good number of Caribbean countries have also actively participated in the review of other countries, making comments and recommendations during their reviews,” he said.
The workshop was attended by representatives from Barbados, The Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. (BGIS)