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#460511 - 03/19/13 09:24 AM Belize faces review of Human Rights Committee
Marty Offline

Last Friday, Belize faced its first review by the Human Rights Committee in Geneva since its accession to the Convention. We are among one hundred and sixty-seven state parties to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which is one of the primary international human rights treaties. A total of eleven topics ranging from constitutional and legal framework to non-discrimination, were discussed. But there was no representation from Belize and the committee’s expressed disappointment for the absence which impeded dialogue on important human rights issues. The session opened with the airing of the content of an-email sent by Belize and from there it continued downhill.

“The reasons they gave are purely finance, that’s what they say here. It’s just an email where they say on the fourth of March after numerous email exchanges; where also in which they were saying that they would transmit the replies to list of issues; that they were making some kind of an effort to engage with the committee to send their replies. And then they say; I think they were actually considering trying to send a delegation and then they say that the issue was finance and that’s why there was no delegation here and ultimately is was by reason of finance. And it was also examined by the committee on the elimination of discrimination a few months ago and there was no representation either from the state party. As I said it’s just an email obviously not a note verbal formal language. I had written to the state party asking for the replies to the list of issues which I knew were underway and the response is “on Friday the document was under its final review; I expect it will be sent to us, she means the permanent commission, for submission earliest fifth March 2013. No final word on representation from Capital. The issue is finance.”

With finance being the primary reason for non-representation at the meeting, the committee also expressed that Belize provided only limited answers.

Channel 5

#460512 - 03/19/13 09:25 AM Re: Belize faces review of Human Rights Committee [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

…First item reviewed: Mayan Land Rights

One of the first items for review was over Mayan land rights. On August seventh 1998, a petition was presented by the Indian Law Resource Center and the Toledo Maya Cultural Council against Belize stating that the government is responsible for violating rights under the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. The Supreme Court’s Judgment of 2007 and 2010 were also mentioned. Belize argued its position but the committee has news for the Government of Belize in regards to the argument posed by them for not enforcing the judgment made by both the Inter-American Commission and the Belize Supreme Court.

“The indigenous Mayan communities of the Toledo District Belize face irreparable damages to their traditional lands, livelihood and culture due to the persistent failure of Belize to demarcate and entitle Maya lands and its ongoing issuance of leases for oil, logging and hydro electric concessions over those lands. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights filed a report in 2004 recommending Belize delimit, demarcate entitled Mayan lands and abstain from acts that could affect value used or enjoyment of those lands. Other international mechanisms and special procedures are also involved. The government ignored recommendations of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and continued granting oil, logging and hydro electric concessions, leases and grants of Mayan lands causing significant damage. The Supreme Court of Belize issued landmark judgments reinforcing the report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and ordered Belize to delimit, demarcate entitled Mayan land and to abstain from anything that could interfered with Mayan land; that’s in 2007 and in 2010. There is no affirmative measures taken to implement and enforce Supreme’s Court decision; the feud of Belize is that the recommendations are not legally binding because they have not acceded to the American Convention; they will not implement the recommendations of the Inter-American Commission and that also goes for the Human Rights Committee because the feud of the Human Rights Committee are not binding and the concluding observations but they forget that the treaty of which we are a part of, is binding on them. So I want to ask and urge the state party to implement not only the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights but also to help the people to enjoy their human rights, all the rights and enshrined in the treaty.”

Channel 5


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