United and Strong Stages Regional Documentation Training

 Human rights defenders from the eastern Caribbean region are now better equipped to record violations, seek redress and compile data following a weekend workshop here. Saint Lucia’s United and Strong Inc organised the Human Rights and Violations Documentation Training with support from AIDS Free World and the Caribbean Forum for Liberation and Acceptance of Genders and Sexualities (CariFLAGS). The training was conducted by Jamaican human rights lawyer Maurice Tomlinson.

Facilitator Maurice Tomlinson
Facilitator Maurice Tomlinson

Twenty-one activists from six countries, including the US Virgin Islands, participated in the two-day workshop at Coco resorts from April 13 – 14, 2013. Fourteen organisations defending women, persons living with HIV/AIDS, persons who have been sexually molested and LGBT persons were represented.

The training will enhance documentation of abuses against marginalised groups by increasing capacity to document violations, strengthen security practices and work collaboratively in advocating for better protection with local, regional and international bodies. This is part of a wider strategy to collect data to inform advocacy of human rights organisations in the region.

Participants have committed to champion three resolutions coming out of the weekend session. The regional network will collaborate to implement sensitisation training on gender and sexuality for the police, media and the judiciary; develop a strategy and promote a human rights culture, and push for the adoption of anti-discrimination policy.

Tomlinson with U&S Co-Executive director Kenita Placide
Tomlinson with U&S Co-Executive director Kenita Placide

Saint Lucia is responsible for the training component, as it is in keeping with current efforts to sensitise the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force. A human rights workshop for gazetted officers, rank and file, and recruits was scheduled for this week,. However following months of planning, the training did not receive final authorisation from the police, who indicated that due to the public services strike action all officers were required to be on call. United and Strong remains optimistic that future dates will be set soon.

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