Gender justice advocate calls for more human rights laws

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Gender justice advocate calls for more human rights laws
Felicia Browne.
Human and Gender Justice Advocate – Felicia Browne

Chakadan Daniel’s death has drawn much concern in relation to modern legislative laws and litigation where we rely upon the professionalism of custodians and that of the penal system.

Though many agree that human rights are of key significance in our society, very little has been done to educate the general populace on the human rights conventions.

Human rights are fundamental to human development and shape our modern understandings of what actions are morally permissible when interacting within our own society.

Rights structure the very nature of governments, the content of our laws, and the shaping of our moral values and our ability to act responsibly to our fellow humans. Such moralities and universal values are usually geared towards shaping our human and national development — in relation to personhood, collectivism and patriotism.

Though our legal and human rights advocates have continued to advocate for justice and peace within our society, not much has been done to educate various sectors on human rights. Human rights have been often seen as a nuisance in many social matters. However, it is imperative that the rights of others, regardless of socio-economic backgrounds, must be upheld by the state and human institutions.

Victims of human rights violation are becoming an international and global concern. These violations have an extremely devastating effect, not only on the victim but the perpetrator as well. Theories of Victimology recognise that passive victims are more likely to be prone to further abuse within their formative and developmental stages. These may manifest themselves through various forms of violence, which include but not limited to bullying, rape, suicide, crime and gun violence.

In many cases, families of human rights victims are usually prone to further violence or injustices which may create a space for internal and immediate conflicts that are far removed by possible solutions.

Governmental and non-government organisations must not remain at loggerheads with each other, nor remain silent on matters of human dignity. A young citizen has died, and it is the state’s responsibility that the general public, including the media, understand how such cases are being handled without any biases or ambiguities. Our country needs and requires good leadership and transparency in order that citizens are able to feel safe and secure.

Sadly, what we are now observing is that people no longer feel that the local police stations are safe for their families when they are held in custody. There is a growing element of fear, uncertainty and lack of faith in our judicial and social systems. Criminal activity and violence are escalating with society from our homes, schools and now our prisons.

Can we currently be certain, without any reasonable doubt, that Chakadan Daniel was not simply bullied by the authority to the point of death — directly or indirectly? Was young Daniel a victim of an injustice system where persons in authority are claimed to have more rights than others? Do our families need to mourn for similar losses of sons and daughters before serious changes are made in our justice system?

Had CCTV and proper monitoring of the system been in place, would Chakadan Daniel be dead today? Does having only one pathologist and the lack of a functional forensic lab in this developing country not warrant some serious and reflective concerns by our policy makers?

These are questions we must ask if we are to ensure that no such event occurs again. We must implement effective policies on human rights that may have saved the life of this young man and others. As leaders in our communities must recognise the role we play within our communities and places of employment. Our young leaders are observing those policies, behaviours and solutions in addressing various social concerns that we are faced with, and we must ensure we set the example of good moral leadership that they can then follow.

It is a time where peaceful resolutions are deeply needed. In the case of Mr. Daniel, we have lost a young citizen and we must try to ensure that his death is a symbol for greater peace and justice within our society. His death should not be seen as a tug-of-war between the state, families and advocates, but it must be seen as an opportunity to begin immediate and effective human rights awareness within all facets of society — schools, police force, civil servants and private sectors.

Human rights must also be seen as a developmental tool to project greater economic and social stability. Our leaders should be seeking those clear advantages when dealing with sensitive concerns on human rights violations. We must never forget our ability to show compassion, empathy and humanity. We need to revisit our traditional ways of doing things and seek alternative ways to foster a greater level of compassion for each other.

It is clear that everyone has been affected by this tragedy but we must ensure that the law is effective and contemporary enough to deal with such challenges. Additionally, the inadequacies within the criminal law and justice system must reflect international standards of human rights policies. Proper legal infrastructures like CCTV and video recording in police stations, counselling for custodians who are awaiting trial, as well as an independent victim’s aid should be implemented to alleviate these challenges.

We must begin to practice these fundamental rights in order that peace, justice and fairness are encouraged to flourish within our small society. We must NOT wait until a tragedy occurs for us to inform the public about their rights. Human rights are universal rights. Every human being has rights that protect them from harm from others, including the state.

Human rights advocates and the media must continue to educate the society on the human rights acts as well as examples of human rights violations. We have heard all too often, that someone‘s rights have been violated, but do we know which human rights have been violated?

We need to conduct educational programmes that educate on human rights in order that children, youths, women and men, all have a fair understanding of those basic human rights. Some universal rights include the right to a nationality, the right to an education, the right to proper legislative procedures and the right to health.

We need to save lives and become more humanistic in our approaches to good governance and policy making if we hope to achieve a peaceful and prosperous nation.

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  1. Ms. Browne you have lost me here. This a very convoluted argument. I don't know what you are trying to accomplish. You think St Lucia needs more human rights laws and CCTV camera's would have prevented the death of the child? SMFH. How about Arial Castro in the USA would CCTV in his cell prevent his mysterious death?? It look like you dont get it. Everybody are quick to give themselves titles but solves the crime situation. You will have to come better than this or else I might have to tune you off.

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