Commonwealth Secretariat




Nº   10/06




            On Tuesday, April 25 and Wednesday, April 26, 2006, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (“IACHR”) and the Commonwealth Secretariat co-sponsored a workshop in St. John’s, Antigua & Barbuda on the ratification and implementation of international and regional human rights instruments. The Workshop was officially opened by Antigua & Barbuda’s Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, the Honourable Justin L. Simon Q.C.


            The workshop, convened at the invitation of the Government of Antigua & Barbuda, provided officials from governments of the Caribbean region with an intensive training on the importance of full participation in the United Nations and Inter-American human rights systems as well as the procedures involved in ratifying and implementing international and regional human rights instruments. Over 20 government officials from more than 10 Caribbean states participated, including representatives from Antigua & Barbuda, Jamaica, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname.


           Panelists at the workshop included senior human rights specialists from the Commonwealth Secretariat, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Executive Secretariat of the IACHR as well as governmental and nongovernmental legal experts from the Caribbean region. Participants in the Opening Ceremony for the event included Antigua & Barbuda Attorney General Justin L. Simon Q.C., Mr. Clare K. Roberts, Member and former President of the IACHR, Mr. Jarvis Matiya, Human Rights Advisor with the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Human Rights Unit, and Ms. Cecily Norris, Director of the National Office of the Organization of American State (“OAS”) in Antigua & Barbuda. Closing remarks were delivered by Her Excellency Lisa Shoman, Ambassador of Belize to the United States and Permanent Representative of Belize to the OAS.


         The IACHR is the principal human rights organ of the 34-member OAS and is mandated to promote, protect, and defend human rights in the Americas and to serve as a consultative organ to the OAS in these matters. The Commonwealth Secretariat is the main intergovernmental agency of the 53-member Commonwealth and is responsible for facilitating consultation and co-operation among member governments and countries, including the promotion of human rights through its Human Rights Unit.


         The IACHR and the Commonwealth Secretariat wish to thank the Government of Antigua & Barbuda for hosting and facilitating this event.


St. John’s, Antigua, April 26, 2006