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HUMAN RIGHTS DAY MESSAGE FROM TCH HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER


Today December 10th, marks the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, under the theme ‘Dignity, Freedom and Justice for All’.


Among the many core functions of the Commission is the function in respect to the monitoring of places of detention in the Turks and Caicos Islands that took precedence in the last calendar year.


Through strengthening its monitoring arm, the Commission is pleased with the level of improvements seen at these facilities which were achieved by way of recommendations made through reporting and an overall presence. The Commission was able to agitate for positive change, that has resulted in infrastructural improvements which have enhanced the living conditions for persons incarcerated, as well as seeing a significant decrease in complaints of inhumane or degrading treatment from those occupying the facilities.


Through our multi-agency stakeholder approach, the Commission has been able to increase its monitoring and awareness on the interception of illegal vessels entering the Turks and Caicos Islands. This firsthand information has afforded us the opportunity to ensure that the relevant agencies are present for the safe and efficient processing of detainees and that the process is conducted in a humane manner.


In instances where children are found to be aboard a vessel, the Commission actively pursues the Department of Social Development to ensure that social workers are dispatched immediately to provide increased child safeguarding.


All persons are born free, and the Commission is steadfast in the promotion of fair treatment for all, to this end the Human Rights Commission is reviewing existing domestic violence legislation which will offer greater protection to victims of domestic violence.

The dignity of the human person is not only a fundamental right in itself but constitutes the real basis of fundamental rights. The 1949 Universal Declaration of Human Rights enshrined human dignity in its preamble: ‘Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all the members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.’


Since the proclamation of the UDHR, nearly 75 years ago human rights have advanced worldwide. The Turks and Caicos Islands is no stranger to these advancements either, however, there is more that can be done.


In addition to these, the Commission provided support to many affected individuals who would have filed a complaint. In all those instances the complaints were addressed with a view of assisting complainants achieve a resolution and in most cases, we have successfully assisted the complainants in resolving issues ranging from domestic violence, human trafficking, school placements, birth certificates etc.


As we look to the year ahead, the Commission will be making great advances in addressing the standard of living issues in the Turks and Caicos Islands, engaging high level immigration officials on existing immigration laws as well as developing new strategies for advancing child safeguarding.


On this momentous day, the Commission takes time to highlight and celebrate many unsung within the Turks and Caicos at its 5th annual Humanitarian of the Year Awards. To further commemorate this day students around the Turks and Caicos Islands have participated in a poster and public service announcement competition. These competitions were designed to bring a greater awareness to bullying and its impacts. Winners for these competitions will be announced on December 13th, 2022.


From all of us at the Human Rights Commission we wish you a happy Human Rights Day!


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