The promotion and protection of Human Rights remain a top priority for Government.

Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Christopher Sinckler, made this assertion during a recent courtesy call with the Head of the Human Rights Unit (HRU) of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Dr. Purna Sen, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Dr. Sen, who was in the region to conduct a training seminar for CARICOM countries that will be participating in the Universal Periodic Review 2011, told the Minister that the HRU was particularly interested in the development of a National Human Rights Institution.??

During her brief trip she also met with other officials from government ministries and departments that are involved in compiling reports for the various human rights conventions to which Barbados is party.

Mr. Sinckler, in turn, told the Human Rights head that government was exploring the possibility of training personnel in short-term courses and graduate programmes on human rights education.

The acting Foreign Affairs Minister further pointed out that the Commonwealth Secretariat might be able to assist the Royal Barbados Police Force with producing a manual for its operations, as well as source training for officers of the Barbados Prison service.

The Human Rights Unit is the main body responsible for human rights in the Commonwealth Secretariat. It is a free-standing Unit that reports directly to the Secretary-General and is mandated to develop programmes related to the promotion and protection of human rights, and publish information on human rights developments, for the information and use of member countries. It also interacts with the United Nations human rights system and collaborates on human rights issues with governmental and non-governmental organisations, (Commonwealth and other) providing assistance in strengthening and monitoring national human rights institutions.????

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