Governor’s office defends human rights commission

| 10/12/2010

(CNS): As the Cayman Islands joined the international community to celebrate Human Rights Day for the first time on Friday the governor’s office also defended criticisms about the make up of the human rights commission. Trainers that came to Cayman in September to hold a workshop on the issue of human rights said the local commission fell short of the diversity requirements of Paris principals which guide the makeup of human rights bodies around the world. A spokesperson for the governor’s officer however said that these are very general principals and not legally binding. There was wide he said wide representation on the Cayman HRC.

“We believe it is sufficient. It has to be borne in mind that although ideally all the above groups would be represented, the Cayman Human Rights Commission is necessarily very small and it is therefore not possible to have as wide a representation as would be possible in a larger country,” the spokesperson added.

The criticisms were made during the training session which was sponsored by the Commonwealth Foundation and the UK’s Department for International Development and hosted by international human rights experts who were advising public sector workers and the media about how the Cayman Islands new bill of rights which comes into effect in 2010 is likely to affect their work.

On Cayman’s first human right’s day celebrations however the governor also stood by the local commission and wished it success in its future work as Cayman moved towards implementing its own bill of rights.

“Here in the Cayman Islands, we enjoy all the basic human rights and live in a free and tolerant society. But we should not take these rights for granted: we need to ensure that they are understood and protected,” he said in his message to mark the celebrations,

This year‘s theme “Speak Up: Stop Discrimination” honouring those who promote human rights will form part of a campaign by the commission this evening. Chair of the local commission Richard Coles said, “Human rights are for all, and I encourage everyone in Cayman to come out and get to know the rights and responsibilities now contained in our Constitution.”

Before the Cayman Islands’ Bill of Rights comes into effect in November 2012human rights are still protected by various international treaties and Caymanians have the right to petition the European Court of human rights.

The first declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations on 10 December 1948 setting out the principle that all individuals, without distinction of any kind, were entitled to certain inalienable rights and freedoms. This year’s International Human Rights Day aims to highlight the work of human rights defenders around the world who act to promote or protect human rights.

As stated by the UN, human rights are inherent to all people, without discrimination by nationality, ethnic origin, sex, religion or any other status. They are recognized almost universally. The declaration became the foundation of international human-rights law though it is not itself legally binding. More than 150 states are party to the Declaration and the principles have been enshrined in the constitutions of more than 90 countries, and translated into 300 languages.

Beginning at 6pm this Friday on The Paseo at Camana Bay there will be a free family event featuring local musicians, actors, artists and vendors. Children can create their own works of art in the activity corner. In addition, Twyla Vargas, Michael McLaughlin, Nasaria Suckoo, Rita Estevanovich, Gordon Solomon, and others will entertain with skits, inspirational poetry, and story-telling. Artists will also have work on display and for sale.
There will also be musical performances by Clever Knots, The Vagabonds, Natasha Kozaily, and Madame Speaker, as well as by students of the Lighthouse School of Special Education.

For more information on the event or the Human Rights Commission, call 244-3690 or visit our website at

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Comments (6)

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  1. Anonymous says:

     The Governor said:  “Here in the Cayman Islands, we enjoy all the basic human rights and live in a free and tolerant society." 

    Is he serious?

    What a ridiculous statement. Is the governor lying in order to make Cayman look good or is he really that clueless?

    Try being openly gay or atheist in the Cayman Islands, Mr. Governor, and you would never say that again. 

    • Molly Coddle says:

      The Cayman Islands are full of gays and atheists. What is your problem?

      Happy holidays.

      • Pro the little person says:

        Filled yes, however the negative stigmatism attached to them leaves them and their ideals closeted. Think about it, it’ll be years before an educated young GAY Caymanian can run for office and try to lead us in a more positive direction instead of into a deep, close mindedand backwards hole that the @$$ kissing politicians have us in. The ministers association should not have the final say in what occurs in this country, their suggestions should be heard and if they are helpful enacted. Cayman kids itself into thinking it is a christian nation. We are a multi-cultural society and we should be more open minded.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Were I the reporter who has had the LA vote against him and the Cayman Compass editorial, it would become a human rights issue for sure. The LA has been heavy handed in their vote against the media and this is a perfect bell weather case for human rights and freedom of the press.

  3. Anonymous says:


  4. John Evans says:

    Isn’t it rather ironic that the Governor (on instructions from the FCO?) should make a statement like this at the same time the LA were passing a motion that appears to be in direct conflict with ECHR Article 10, Article 19 of UDHR and the terms of ICCPR.