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Recovery and Development Agency
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Acting Permanent Secretary in the Deputy Governor’s Office, Mrs. Carolyn Stoutt Igwe, represented the Virgin Islands at the 2016 Overseas Territories Human Rights Conference in London.
The conference explored key priorities, opportunities and challenges faced by Overseas Territories Human Rights Commissions or equivalent organisations, in the execution of their responsibilities.
It also examined critical topical human rights issues such as women and children’s rights and the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals.
In a report delivered at the conference, Mrs. Igwe presented a summary on human rights in the Territory, including the provisions of the Virgin Islands Constitution Order, 2007 and some of the Conventions that have been extended to the Virgin Islands. She also spoke to the progress made in terms of recent legislation and policy documents aimed at ensuring compliance with those Conventions and highlighted some human rights challenges.
The Acting Permanent Secretary highlighted legislative reviews conducted on the Territory’s compliance with the United Nations Convention on the Elimination on all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Pending amendments to prison legislation to ensure compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights was also mentioned.
Mrs. Igwe felt that the conference was timely as the Territory moves toward reintroducing the Human Rights Commission Act in the House of Assembly and said, “We are in a good place as the networks have now been established among the Overseas Territories, so we can learn from the work of the existing Commissions.”
She added, “As a Territory, we have been making progress with addressing various human rights issues across Government and fulfilling our reporting obligations on compliance with various Conventions”.
Delegates from Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, St. Helena, Ascension Island and the Turks and Caicos Islands attended the two-day conference that was held on September 13 and 14 at Lancaster House, London.
The 2016 Overseas Territories Directorate Human Rights Conference was hosted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It promoted an understanding of the United Kingdom and Overseas Territories shared international human rights obligations, how compliance is monitored by international organisations, and identified how the United Kingdom Government could best support sustainable development.