Gov't to roll out National Human Rights Institute
Justice Minister Senator Mark Golding has said a plan of action for the implementation of the National Human Rights Institute has been developed and is now under way.
He said several agencies across the public sector that deal with aspects of human rights have been prepared, and the training officers, starting with members of the judiciary, will begin next month.
Golding said the Government had been actively pursuing the establishment of the institute, with technical assistance from the Commonwealth Secretariat and the United Nations Development Programme.
"Given that Jamaica already has an effective and extensive network of institutions mandated to protect the rights of Jamaicans, the plan is to establish a National Human Rights Institute by expanding the role and functions of an existing entity," Golding said.
The minister made a statement to the Senate on Friday on his recent participation at the Universal Periodic Review of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.
Meanwhile, Opposition senator Marlene Malahoo Forte hailed Jamaica for its outstanding work in the area of human rights.
"The Government of Jamaica has done a lot in the realm of human rights. We have a tendency to criticise ourselves very harshly and, while there is a place for that, a lot of work has been done by Jamaica. Jamaica has led the way, as the minister (Golding) pointed out, in many ways."
Continuing, Malahoo Forte said: "Some of the things we are obsessed with when we look comparatively on what we have done in the international context, we would realise that we are way ahead."
She said Jamaica is quick in passing laws and ratifying conventions, but noted that one of the main challenges facing the country is the question of implementation, enforcement and providing adequate resources for the institutions that are created to ensure that the benefits that "we guarantee to our citizens are truly enjoyed".