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Belize Makes Significant Strides in Area of Human Rights

Today, December 10 is being observed as Human Rights Day.  It is a day set aside by the United Nations since 1950 when the UN Assembly passed a resolution 423, inviting all states and interested organizations in observing December 10 as Human Rights Day.  In Belize, Human Rights Day was celebrated via an event at the Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel, hosted by the Human Rights Commission of Belize in partnership with the United Nations agencies and the Government of Belize yesterday afternoon.  In a release issued by the Commission, it was stated that in Belize, the Government has recently made some significant strides forward in the area of human rights by ratifying the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which protect our rights to education, shelter, health care and other basic needs all persons have in order to live in security and dignity. Belize had many years ago ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights but had not complied with the provision to report to the UN committee that monitors the implementation of this particular treaty. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is now completing the first ever report to the UN committee and this too is a step in the right direction in the important area of human rights.  At the function, addresses were made by the Legal Advisor for the Belize Police Department, Bart Jones, who spoke on the department’s efforts in training its officers with the objective of reducing the instances of excessive force which is a violation of human rights.  Also making remarks were Christian Salazar the UN Resident Coordinator as well as Attorney Leo Bradley Jr., the current President of the Human Rights Commission of Belize while Attorney Kevin Arthurs served as the Master of Ceremonies.  According to the United Nations website, Human Rights Day 2015 is devoted to the beginning of a yearlong campaign for the international covenant on economic, social and cultural rights as well as the international covenant on civil and political rights as 2015 is the 5oth anniversary of these two international covenants on human rights.   The two Covenants coupled with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, form the International Bill of Human Rights, setting out the civil, political, cultural, economic, and social rights that are the birth right of all human beings.  The yearlong campaign is being done under the theme, “Our Rights, Our Freedoms, Always”.