2016 Sees 207 Complaints Taken to Ombudsman
The 45-page report for 2016 from the Office of the Ombudsman was released earlier this week. The report cites a total of two hundred and seven complaints made throughout the year with the highest percentage being against the Belize Police Department followed by the Belize Central Prison and the Immigration and Nationality Departments. According to the report, these complaints range from abuse of power, assault, torture and other infractions on human rights. Of the two hundred and seven complaints made only forty five of them were resolved while seventy remain under investigation; twenty four of them investigated and forwarded with suggested solutions to the persons/entity and sixty eight of them were deemed to be not under the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction of authority. In the report, the Ombudsman, Lionel Arzu has noted several arrangements made in order to facilitate these complaints and expedite the investigations. An understanding was reached with the Commissioner of Police, Allen Whylie with the aim of having an open communication with the Professional Standards Branch when it comes to complaints against the Belize Police Department. There was also an agreement reached with the Ombudsman of Guatemala, Hon. Jorge DeLeon, and the team at the O.A.S. office in the Adjacency Zone to discuss the protection of human rights in the adjacency zone. Ombudsman Arzu is currently holding the Presidency of the Central American Council for Human Rights Defender/Ombudsman; marking the second Belizean to have held such a position.