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The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has announced that it would be awarding fellowships to two Caribbean media practitioners later this year, as part of a larger project aimed at educating some 20 regional journalists about the Inter-American system and related issues.
“I am happy to announce that two scholarships will be awarded to journalists from the Caribbean region, who will be selected on the basis of an application process. This process will include consideration of their professional background, letters of recommendation and essays,” said Clare Kamau Roberts, President of the IACHR.
Mr. Roberts, who made the announcement as he addressed a two-day seminar on human rights and press freedom at the Jolly Beach Resort in St. John’s Antigua recently, said that the awardees would work for two months at the IACHR’s headquarters in Washington.
He noted that the award would give journalists the opportunity to observe firsthand and participate in the work of the IACHR and the Rapporteurship for Freedom of Expression. It would also allow them to meet and work with representatives of other international organizations and non government organizations based in Washington.
He informed that after two months, the fellows would be required to present a written evaluation of their experience and to assist in the development of training programmes for journalists on human rights issues in their home countries.
According to Mr. Roberts, “the primary impact of the project will be to train over 20 journalists from all over the Caribbean on the Inter-American system and its standards on freedom of expression and press freedom. This will enable them to use the system in order to address violations of this right, as well as to promote understanding of this right, to prevent future violations. It is also expected that the journalists will share their understanding of the system with others in the Caribbean region, leading to a more widespread use of the system”.
“Finally, we expect that the project will enable the Office of the Special Rapporteur to develop new contacts and strengthen existing ones in the Caribbean so that it will be better able to monitor threats to freedom of expression in the region and to assist governments in their efforts to introduce best practices in the area of human rights,” Mr. Roberts added.
He stressed, that by awarding the fellowships, the aim was to encourage journalists in the region to be more active participants in the Inter-American system on human rights and related issues.