ACTING ON a proposal from Jamaica, the United States of America, Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico and Uruguay, the Organization of American States (OAS) on Wednesday commemorated International Human Rights Day, at its Washington, DC headquarters.
In marking International Human Rights Day, which is generally recognised on December 10, various countries within the OAS took the opportunity to emphasise the importance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Vienna Declaration of Human Rights, and various human rights instruments and institutions within the OAS, and especially the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man and the American Convention on Human Rights.
Speaking on behalf of the Government of Jamaica, Jamaica's Permanent Representative to the OAS, Ambassador Stephen Vasciannie emphasised that Jamaica was committed to the promotion and protection of human rights. He reminded the OAS that the Jamaican Constitution had been amended two years ago to incorporate the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms.
"It is noteworthy that while the Charter reinforces some provisions of the Constitution, such as the right to equality before the law, it also introduces new rights, including the constitutional right to a passport, rights relating to the environment, the right to legal aid and the right to vote," Vasciannie noted.
In addition, the Jamaican ambassador emphasised that Jamaica was committed to promoting civil, political and economic rights. "As a small-island developing State buffeted by economic challenges, Jamaica believes that there is an integral link between socio-economic development and human rights. For us, the fulfilment of social and economic rights is as important to the Inter-American system as showing respect for civil and political rights," the ambassador added.