US, UK express concerns about T&T's human rights status

Monday, May 9, 2016 - 20:00

The United States and the United Kingdom have both expressed some concerns about this country's human rights status and are both making recommendations in relation to police treatment of suspects, discrimination against women and attitude towards homosexuals.

The recommendations come as this country undergoes a review of its human right's record, at the 25th Universal Periodic Review in Geneva today.

"We note government efforts to improve aspects within the justice sector, like police treatment of suspects, detainees, and prisoners in their custody and security in prisons, but remain concerned about reports of police mistreatment and poor prison conditions," the US statement said.

It added, "We are also concerned about violence and discrimination against women, which continues to be a serious problem despite allocation of government resources to combat it.

"Lastly, we remain concerned about the lack of respect for the human rights of LGBTI persons."

US recommends policy for LGBTI

Given these concerns, the US delegation has issued recommendations to Trinidad and Tobago as follows;

* Partner with appropriate international agencies to strengthen national capacities to collect, process, and analyze relevant human rights statistical information concerning police misconduct and prison conditions.

* Partner with existing independent human rights organizations to monitor and evaluate government interventions that combat domestic violence.

* Put into effect first cycle recommendations 87.23 and 88.50, and develop policy and programmatic responses to the needs of LGBTI persons.

The United States, does, however, commend Trinidad and Tobago for "its commitment to human rights and its efforts to assist those with disabilities and provide greater safeguards for those with HIV/AIDS".

UK welcomes review of death penalty

The United Kingdom's review of Trinidad and Tobago, begins by welcoming "the Government’s ongoing review of the death penalty". 

"We hope the adoption of a multi-tiered classification for murder will provide sentencing judges with the discretion to impose a sentence other than death and thereby preclude its mandatory imposition," the statement said.

That report is also recognising work the Government has undertaken to address discrimination against women. 

It adds, "We ask for concrete steps to implement existing legislation on sexual harassment and violence against women; implementing specialized Rape and Sexual Offences Units within police stations".

The UK has made two recommendations;

* Adopt a 3 tiered classification of murder that will provide sentencing judges with the discretion to impose a sentence other than death and thereby preclude its mandatory imposition.

* To ratify the optional protocol to the Convention against Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Trinidad and Tobago ranks 64th on the Human Development Index.