President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Judge Nancy Hernández López, and Principal of The UWI, Cave Hill Campus Professor Clive Landis display the signed MOU. (The UWI)

The University of the West Indies (The UWI), Cave Hill Campus has signed an agreement with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) that will result in improved capacity-building, joint research opportunities and other areas of mutual benefit for both institutions. The signing took place in parallel to the historic 166th Regular Session of the IACtHR being hosted by the Cave Hill Campus from April 22 – 25.

The Court is in Barbados to hear submissions about human rights and the climate crisis in a sitting that has arisen from a request by the Republics of Colombia and Chile for it to give an Advisory Opinion on states’ obligations under the Inter American human rights system related to the climate emergency and human rights.

The framework cooperation agreement that has an initial three-year timeline was signed this afternoon by Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of The UWI Cave Hill Campus, Professor Clive Landis and President of the Court, Judge Nancy Hernández López. It was witnessed by Dean of the Faculty of Law, Dr. Antonius Hippolyte along with representatives from both institutions.

Under the agreement between the Court and the University, there will be yearly professional practicum programmes for staff and graduates of The UWI Cave Hill Campus as well as student internships with the Court. Additionally, the parties will host congresses, seminars, colloquiums, symposiums, conferences, and bilateral or multilateral forums.

Justice Lopez observed that the current sitting has garnered 265 observations , the highest ever received in its history. She lauded The UWI for its active engagement on this issue related to the right to a healthy environment and justice and said the Court looked forward to collaborations under the agreement.

During the meeting, the President underscored a significant opportunity: “the Court is offering a scholarship tailored for a Caribbean individual to undergo a three-month legal training program. This initiative aims to foster greater diversity and inclusion within the institution”. Additionally, there was a clear commitment from the Court to execute the Agreement and foster a mutually beneficial academic exchange between both institutions.

Professor Landis noted: “The climate emergency is very real for Barbados and other Caribbean Small Island Developing States. I am very proud that the Cave Hill Faculty of Law, the One Ocean Hub and Collaborators have been invited to present submissions at the 166th Regular Session of the Inter American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) held in Bridgetown this week on Climate Emergency and Human Rights. I am furthermore very pleased to sign this historic Framework Cooperation Agreement with Justice Lopez, President of IACtHR as a signal of commitment and collaboration between our esteemed institutions in the furtherance of human rights.”

Other side events involving the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the University are scheduled for Wednesday evening when the two institutions meet with other agencies and civil society actors in a closed session as well as participate in a public panel discussion in the Ralph Carnegie Lecture Theatre at Cave Hill campus.

The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus

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