Belize’s Ombudsman Takes Over as Head of the Human Rights Defenders

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Updated: May 26, 2016

Ombudsman Lionel Arzu, has been installed as the President of The Council of Human Rights Defenders. He assumes presidency for the year 2016-2017. The baton was handed over by the former president, the Ombudsman of Honduras, Doctor Roberto Herrera in a ceremony that took place in Belize for the first time.  Arzu spoke to Love News about the honor of assuming the presidency and the issues at hand in his mandate.

LIONEL ARZU

“I must say I’m excited but also I’m humbled by such an event. Like I said in my speech today is a great day because this is the first time in history of the office that this presidency is being handed over in Belize. As a region we will have to work closer and we have to look at things that are common to us as a regional body, we cannot look at individuals only we have to look at all the issues that are common to all of us here in the region and try to promote and get them resolved or find some support for these issues. We’re looking at the human rights of people in the region that are indigent, people who are at the low end of society and so it is our hope that we come as one body to make sure that these human rights are observed and not abused.”

Arzu also spoke about how the council will deal with the Belize Guatemala tension as a regional matter.

LIONEL ARZU

“I believe that the political directorates are dealing with that in the best way possible in that moment. For this regional body our hope would be that it would just liaise with the ombudsman of Guatemala and his delegation to see how best we can as a body to look at the issues that surround the bigger picture and then see how best we can support or give some advice.”

But as a Belizean, does the Territorial Claim affects the neutral position of the President of the Council?

LIONEL ARZU

“It would be premature to say whether I will be impaired or not. I want to give myself some time to settle down in a position but at the same time making sure that our issues are put in the forefront and try to work very hard to get them resolved.”