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Complaints Commission Staff Benefit from IAS Training

Rita Gardiner, Head of the Complaints Commission

The Turks and Caicos Islands Complaints Commission recently benefited from a virtual training session on the Inter-American System (IAS) and its mechanisms, in collaboration with members of the Caribbean Ombudsman Association (CAROA) and National Human Rights Institutes (NHRI).

The training took place on the 18th of October 2023, and aimed to enhance the understanding and utilization of the Inter-American System among Ombudspersons in the Caribbean region.

The annual human rights training for CAROA began in November 2022, and the Complaints Commission had the opportunity to participate in both the inaugural training and the one held in 2023. The Commission's participation in this training underscores its commitment to improving cooperation with Caribbean states and its recognition of the need to strengthen awareness of the Inter-American system.

The Inter-American System of Human Rights is a vital framework for protecting and promoting human rights in the Americas, based on documents such as the American Declaration, the OAS Charter, and the American Convention, supplemented by various declarations, conventions, and additional protocols and principles developed over the years.

The training's main objective was to familiarize members of CAROA and Caribbean NHRIs with the mechanisms within the Inter-American System. The focus of the presentation in the 2023 session was on petitions and preventive measures, with real-life cases illustrating instances where victims' human rights were violated. Participants had the opportunity to engage in discussions and analyze these cases to determine whether they should be pursued as petitions or precautionary measures.

The training and discussions were initiated in response to the challenges faced by Caribbean countries in addressing human rights violations, particularly those cases that cannot be successfully resolved at the domestic level.

It was acknowledged in a previous meeting between the Executive Secretariat of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the President of CAROA that Caribbean countries shared common challenges in this regard.

As a result, the IACHR was requested to assist CAROA in improving the knowledge and understanding of its members concerning the Inter-American System of Human Rights and the mechanisms available for publicizing and protecting against human rights violations.

In summary, the training provided an opportunity for Ombudspersons and human rights advocates in the Caribbean to gain a deeper understanding of the Inter-American System and its mechanisms, with a particular focus on petitions and preventive measures.

This knowledge will enable them to better utilize the tools and mechanisms provided by the IACHR to address human rights violations and protect the rights of individuals in the region.

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