October 27, 2020

Opinion: Human Rights in SVG

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13418 - human-rights-1By Peter Binose

The ‘ Charter of ’ as Ignored and Abused by the ‘Unity Labour Party SVG’.
Preamble [applicable almost everywhere but not in SVG]

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in cooperation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, therefore, The General Assembly, Proclaims this Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

Article I
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood [except in SVG] .

Article 2
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status [except in SVG].
Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person [except in SVG].

Article 4
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms [except in SVG].

Article 5
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment [except in SVG].

Article 6
Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law [except in SVG].

Article 7
All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.
All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination [except in SVG].

Article 8
Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law [except in SVG].

Article 9
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile [except in SVG].

Article 10
Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him [except in SVG].

Article 11
1. Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence [except in SVG].

2. No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed [except in SVG].

Article 12
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks [except in SVG].

Article 13
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State.
2. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 14
1. Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution [except in SVG].
2. This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations [except in SVG].

Article 15
1. Everyone has the right to a nationality.
2. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

Article 16
1. Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
2. Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
3. The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Article 17
1. Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with
others.
2. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property [except in SVG].

Article 18
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance [except in SVG].

Article 19
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers [except in SVG].

Article 20
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association [except in SVG].
2. No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 21
1. Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives [except in SVG].
2. Everyone has the right to equal access to public service in his country [except in SVG].
3. The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures [except in SVG].

Article 22
Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality [except in SVG].

Article 23
1. Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment [except in SVG].
2. Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work [except in SVG].
3. Everyone who works has the right to just and favorable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection [except in SVG].
4. Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests [except in SVG].

Article 24
Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Article 25
1. Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control [except in SVG].
2. Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 26
1. Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit [except in SVG].

2. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
3. Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children [except in SVG].

Article 27
1. Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits [except in SVG].
2. Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Article 28
Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized [except in SVG].

Article 29
1. Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible [except in SVG].
2. In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and
freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society [except in SVG].
3. These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles
of the United Nations [except in SVG].

Article 30
Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein [except in SVG].

Human rights in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are supposedly protected by international conventions and domestic legal framework.

The country ratified a number of United Nations conventions regarding human rights and its constitution guarantees some basic human rights, such as the right to fair trial and freedom from torture. Yet basic Human Rights and freedom from torture are still abused.

The country also has no individual complaints procedures for some of the ratified conventions.
Ref: “Acceptance of individual complaints procedures for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines”. OHCHR

In 2014, ranked Saint Vincent and the Grenadines as “free”, the highest possible band.
Ref: “St. Vincent and Grenadines”. Freedom House.
But on inquiry by PB statistics are supplied to them by the government, government departments and ministries.

Freedom House did remark that the country has been criticized for its high incidence of rape and prevalence of domestic violence, as well as a “cultural epidemic” that renders women dependent on men and allows perpetrators of gender-based violence to go unpunished.

Every Vincentian is aware of the spite emanating from the government towards anyone or anybody who are known not to support the Unity Labour Party.

Every Vincentian is aware that the removal of an act by the government called PACE designed to protect the public from police brutality etc., culminated with the police torturing people in police interview rooms. Police brutality is rampant in SVG, and the police are seen to be strong political supporters of the ULP government. It appears that they can do no wrong, whilst they actively arrest NDP supporters for certain actions, they take no action against ULP supporters for the very same actions.

Whilst some Vincentians believe that words used by the prime minister “we will hunt them down until the exist no more” actually incites the police to kill citizens with a shoot now and ask questions later policy.

What is also prevalent is the government abuse of the terms of the constitution which like the UN charter is ignored and worked around using slick words to abuse human rights.

DISCLAIMER: The opinion, belief and viewpoint expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinion, belief and viewpoint of iNews Cayman/ieyenews.com or official policies of iNews Cayman/ieyenews.com.

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