JG - 'Gov't should ratify human rights court'
'Gov't should ratify human rights court'
published: Tuesday December 18, 2007
The Jamaican Government has been advised to seriously consider ratifying the jurisdiction of the Inter American Court of Human Rights.
Santiago Canton, executive secretary of the Inter American Commission on Human Rights, made the recommendation Saturday night, while speaking at a seminar on human rights at the Norman Manley Law School, University of the West Indies, Mona campus.
Mr. Canton, the keynote speaker, said that Jamaica is among the 34 member states of the IACHR, the nation has not signed off on allowing the Inter American Court of Human Rights to hear cases in this regard.
He argued that, though this may appear to be a small matter, it is one that affects the holistic interaction of the IACHR among all its members.
"The challenge for the IACHR is that not all member states are signatories to the instruments, so the system is not truly universal. This, as opposed to the European Union where all states must ratify," he said. "This affects how the member states interact."
In the question and answer segment of the seminar, the keynote speaker also mentioned that there was little Caribbean participation in the IACHR despite the fact that more than ten of its members states are located in the region. He said that, with Jamaica ratifying the jurisdiction of the court, it would send a positive signal to the rest of the IACHR states in the Caribbean that have yet to ratify. He was careful to highlight, however, that a failure to ratify the court did not mean that a state was 'anti-human rights'.
Kellesha Clarke, president of the Norman Manley Law School Human Rights Committee, said despite being taken aback by the below expected turnout for the seminar, the event could be considered a success which raised several points worth considering.
"Mr. Santiago raised the point that law schools in the Americas and Canada all have courses dedicated to human rights," Ms. Clarke said. "There is no such course here at the Norman Manley Law School which may be a deficiency that we need to consider."