March 20, 2019

Cayman Islands Human Rights Commission writes to UK’s Foreign Affairs re our prisons, rights of migrants & same-sex unions

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29 January 2019
Written Evidence Submitted by the Cayman Islands Human Rights Commission (“the Commission”) to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Inquiry on the future of the UK Overseas Territories.

Executive Summary

In line with its Constitutional mandate the Commission focuses this submission on the Governance of Cayman Islands, especially adherence to human rights as protected within Cayman’s own Constitution and under various international human rights instruments extended to the Cayman Islands. Shared funding and resources are provided to the Commission but these are insufficient to ensure compliance with international best practice or with the requirements of Cayman’s own Constitution. Similarly, especially when dealing with the issue of LGBT+ rights, there is a conflict within the Islands between the views held by what is a very conservative section of the community supported by the legislature, executive and sections of the church and the equality and non-discrimination requirements of the European Convention of Human Rights (“the ”) (to which a right of individual petition exists) and Cayman’s own Constitution.

Recommendations for Action

  1. Urgent action should be taken to implement ’s recommendations in respect of Cayman’s prisons and prevent more severe human rights concerns developing for serving
    prisoners and those on remand.
  2. An immediate assessment should be undertaken of the UK and Cayman’s obligations in respect of migrants passing through Cayman in order to prevent loss of life, people trafficking and ensure compliance with the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees.
  3. Immediate steps should be taken to introduce legislation to recognise same-sex unions and to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the Cayman Islands as a matter of the greatest importance.
  4. Improved education for public officials regarding their lawful administrative action obligations and the development of written policies and procedures to guide public officials’ decision-making should be an ongoing priority.
  5. Greater engagement and support from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office directly with the Commission (and other OT’s ) would be extremely
    welcome. In 2016/17 an FCO contact, , was instrumental in beginning this engagement and helped to develop extremely helpful contacts and training. Regrettably, since Ms Bridgman moved on to other duties this progress has not continued and has been allowed to stagnate.

SOURCE: Cayman Islands Human Rights Commission

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