Human Rights Of Belize Launches Program to Raise Awarness

The Human Rights Commission of Belize officially launched its new education outreach program today.

The campaign is timed to coincide with the HRCB's celebration of 25 years of service to Belize as an NGO.

Today two of its champions spoke to us about the universality of human rights:

Simeon Sampson - Started Human Rights Movement in Belize
"Human rights issues are with us every day of our lives, except that is it sensationalized by UNIBAM, the death penalty, and so on. But human rights involve the right to health, the right to education, the right to work, the right to legal representation by the impoverished defendant, the right to jury trial - all sorts of rights as to intertwine. they're indivisible, and they're with us at all times every day of our lives."

Antoinette Moore - Human Rights Commission of Belize
"I think people are much more aware at 2012 - than ever before - that their fundamental rights need to be respected and protected, and that they need to do something about it."

Jules Vasquez
"How do we broaden the appreciation, understanding, and engagement with human rights in our daily lives?"

Simeon Sampson
"One word - education - and that's what this is all about. We are launching this program, thanks to the financial assistance from the Oak Foundation. It's not easy. It's a time-consuming affair. We need human resources, intellectual resources, and financial resources to achieve our aim. But we have been doing this for the last 25 years."

Moore also spoke about the issue of educating the security forces about human rights - in light of a prisoner dying in police custody just yesterday. Here's what she had to say about that...

Jules Vasquez
"Has the message been spread to the law enforcement authorities that human rights must be observed at all times and to do so when a man dies in a cell anywhere in the world, it is viewed with great consternation?"

Antoinette Moore
"Yes, obviously not enough has been done or we would not have yet another incident of a life being taken under suspicious circumstances in a police station. I think, however, that we are moving along, and as Mr. Sampson said, human rights is a part every aspect of life. We are moving and the Human Rights Commission of Belize has trained the police at the Police Training Academy. We attempt to do that every time there are recruits. I think the police department itself is more conscious of their obligation to uphold people's rights. Certainly, there are still many problems, and we continue to attempt to work with them."

This 2012 human Rights Awareness campaign hopes to engage Belizeans around the country through the media, and in lectures, workshops, presentations and briefings.

The HRCB was founded in 1987.

Channel 5