Ambassador Thomas Reiterates Jamaica’s Commitment to Human Rights
Washington, D.C. – Jamaica’s commitment to human rights at all levels of society has been reiterated by Ambassador Ralph Thomas, Jamaica’s Permanent representative to the Organization of American States (OAS).
Ambassador Thomas was delivering this statement at a special sitting of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States in Washington in Commemoration of Human Rights Day on Thursday, December 10,
Ambassador Thomas said under the leadership of Prime Minister, The Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, “Jamaica’s commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights at the national level is evidenced by the establishment of several mechanisms including the Office of the Public Defender, the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM), the Child Development Agency (CDA) and the Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA), all aimed at securing the rights of our citizens.”
Ambassador Thomas who is also Jamaica’s Chief of Mission to Washington, said, “The Charter on Fundamental Rights and Freedoms adopted four years ago, provides for comprehensive protection of certain economic and social rights as well as established civil and political rights.”
He pointed out that “ It is noteworthy that while the Charter reinforces some provisions of the Constitution such as the right to equality before the law, it also introduces new rights, including the rights of the child, the right to a passport, rights relating to the environment, the right to legal aid and the right to vote.”
“All the rights elaborated are enjoyed by all persons, without distinction of any kind” he declared. This is in keeping with our commitment to a socio-economic model, as envisaged in the Vision 2030 National Development Plan, where by Jamaica becomes ‘the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do businesses for all.”
Ambassador Thomas noted that “The commemoration of International Human Rights Day provides justifiable cause for celebration, as it gives the opportunity to highlight the tremendous strides made. Nevertheless, the underlying message behind the theme is that, despite the advances made, our task is far from complete, and we have to be reminded that these rights are always to be guaranteed and protected. We cannot truly rejoice while human rights and fundamental freedoms remain an elusive, unfulfilled dream for many fellow human beings.”
He said Human Rights Day 2015 provides an opportunity for Jamaica to reflect on its own efforts to advance human rights at the national and international levels.
“Jamaica has an abiding commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights,” he said, pointing out that “the country is party to seven of the nine core international human rights instruments, and continue to support the Inter- American Human Rights system and fully respect the work of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.”
“Jamaica has participated in the work of the Commission, including through the election to the Commission of Jamaicans – one current Commissioner, Tracy Robinson and an incoming Commissioner, Margarette May MaCaulay,” Ambassador Thomas declared.
The Ambassador was accompanied by Jamaica’s alternate representative to the OAS Miss Julia Hyatt.