Human Rights High on Jamaica’s Agenda


Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Carol Palmer has said that Jamaica had a good record in terms of steps that have been taken to safeguard the basic human rights of all its citizens.
Speaking on behalf of Minister of Justice, Senator A.J. Nicholson at the Northern Caribbean University recently, Mrs. Palmer noted that no government could afford to be dormant in this regard in the modern era.
“If we accept the fact that government in our nation is by consensus and not imposed on us by force then it is expected that the rules of engagement, the social contract or the sustainability of that consent be subjected to review.implicit in the contract is the recognition by all concerned that there are certain rights and privileges and corresponding responsibilities that must be given primacy and be scrupulously guarded,” she said.
Mrs. Palmer noted that in this context the state was and must continue to be the vanguard in the fight for peace, justice and securing rights and freedoms.
“Successive regimes since independence have shown immense respect for human rights and for institutions that are design to protect those rights, consider for example the education act preventing discrimination against students in public educational institutions based on their religious belief and practices.the provision of legal aid, Bail Act which prevents arbitrary denial of bail,” she remarked.
The Permanent Secretary pointed out that the new Coroner’s Act which was recently passed in Parliament would allow an interested party to have the right to apply to the supreme court to quash an inquisition or jury finding in a coroners inquest.
“Hitherto, only the Director of Public Prosecutions could make such an application, the setting up of the Office of Public Defender is another case in point,” she said.
Mrs. Palmer indicated that the government intended to continue to press on in the struggle to build a better society.
“We have to continue to strengthen programmes for poverty alleviation, work with our Caribbean neighbours to secure for our people a just share of the global cake and to ensure that the letter and spirit of the convention on the rights of the child becomes our main tool in protecting our children. At the same time there is the need for us to be conscious of how we treat our environment so that this planet will benefit the generations to come,” she stated.

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