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Belize reviewed under UPR
Wednesday, 06 May 2009 08:05

 

The UPR Working Group reviewed Belize on the morning of 5 May, 2009 headed by Ms Judith Alpuche, Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Human Development and Social Transformation. Only 20 States took part in the review with the three person delegation, focusing on the following:

 

  • A number of States addressed the use of excessive police force. The Netherlands and Canada recommended that the State increase training for police officers and investigate alleged violations. The delegation stated that they have adopted a zero-tolerance policy against these acts and it did not respond to further recommendations. 
  • Many States drew on reports of violations of the property rights of Mayan peoples. The delegation spent a long time explaining the nature of allegations and its actions following the Supreme Court’s ruling in the ‘Cal’ case. The UK, Argnatina, Slovenia and Germany recommended that Belize recognize the social, cultural and property rights of persons of minorities and the indigenous Maya people.
  • A number of States commended Belize for the establishment of an Ombudsman’s office. The delegation identified financial resources as a major problem for the office. The United States also enquired whether Belize would consider creating a national human rights institution in accordance with the Paris Principles. 
  • Many States called for increased efforts to address discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDs. Argentina called for an end to the need for parental consent for access to HIV/AIDs treatment and prevention services for persons under 16 years.   
  • The Czech Republic recommended that the State decriminalize consensual same-sex relationships between adults, while Germany and Slovenia called for the abolition of corporal punishment under domestic legislation. In her opening remarks, Ms Apulche claimed that these issues would require a broad national consultative process given the socio-cultural dynamics of the Belizean society, and she did not respond to later recommendations.
  • Although Belize has established a moratorium on the death penalty, only Italy called for its abolition, while Slovenia urged Belize not to reintroduce its application.
  • May States called for the ratification of core international human rights instruments, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture. Latvia also recommended that the State issue a standing invitation to all special procedures.

  

On 7 March the Working Group considered the outcome of the review. Belize accepted 36 of the recommendations made to it. It has reserved its position on recommendations on the following issues:

  • abolition of the death penalty
  • increase the age of criminal responsibility and the minimum age for marriage
  • de-criminalisation of same sex activities between consenting adults; and end discrimination based on sexual orientation
  • establishment of a national human rights institution in accordance with the Paris Principles
  • issue a standing invitation to all special procedures
  • abolish corporal punishment for children
  • provide defendants with an attorney in serious criminal processes where they cannot afford one
  • protect Mayan customary property rights in accordance with Mayan customary laws
  • reviews laws to ensure effective access to asylum procedure.

 

The Working Group adopted the report without any comments from States. Belize thanked for the insightful, constructive and useful comments during the review. It agreed with the general thrust of all recommendations while asking for more time to consider some issues that would require broad consultation.

 

 

Last Updated on Friday, 08 May 2009 01:09
 
© by The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) 2018