Some Caribbean States have been considered tardy in complying with the reporting obligations of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
This was disclosed today by Professor Barbara Bailey, an Independent Expert of the Committee that monitors CEDAW, as she addressed the start of a capacity building programme on Treaty Bodies Reporting, at the Radisson Hotel, Aquatic Gap, St. Michael.
The programme is an initiative of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR).
Delegates were told that timely reporting was important and a critical tool in the monitoring procedure, both for member states and the United Nations monitoring bodies. She stressed too that the obligation to report on implementation in a timely manner was not a dispensable option but legally binding and non-negotiable.
Professor Bailey said that compliance with human rights obligations might be viewed as less binding and having less political will and commitment.
However, she suggested that with or without sanctions, CARICOM members had an ethical responsibility to respect and protect the fundamental human rights and freedoms of all citizens, particularly since it was clear that in the sub-region, protection of human rights remained ???an unfinished agenda???.
Meanwhile, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, speaking on the sidelines of the OHCHR programme, noted that Barbados had always made a consistent effort to prepare reports and capture information in a timely manner in order to meet its obligations.
Admitting there were constraints in terms of human resource capacity, financial resources and technical capacity, she said it was to this end that the country was participating in hosting a series of workshops.
Human Rights Desk Officer in the Ministry, Dr. Ricardo Kellman, also noted that Barbados had sought to deal with this situation by seeking to form committees to give special focus to these reports.
He continued: ???Right now, we have completed the CEDAW Report to have that submitted to the Treaty Body in Geneva. That???s awaiting review and then Barbados would take a contingent to meet with the committee, then take the recommendations and bring them back home to implement to see where we can strengthen them,??? he said.
???On the CEDAW issue we are on course. We also have another report to prepare for disabilities; you should note that we have taken a very broad approach to addressing the reporting process there. In that regard, Senator Kerryann Ifill chairs the committee and brings with her the experience of a person who is already disabled and also the expert processes are brought in as well.???
The composition of the committee, he added, was very broad-based, and allowed civil society members to participate, Government to express views and persons to have a very coherent presentation of the reality of Barbados.
While stating that the next Universal Periodic Process will be in 2017 and Barbados would have to present its third report, Dr. Kellman said it would be ???a grand appraisal of the Human Rights situation here???.