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.