MFA Presents 2nd National Report to the Working Group on UPR in Geneva

8 February 2013

BELMOPAN, Belize — Government agencies, NGOs, international organizations and the general public were invited to the launching of the consultation process for Belize’s second Universal Periodic Review held on February 8th, 2013 at the George Price Center in Belmopan and spearheaded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Universal Periodic Review is a mechanism that allows for Belize to show its international partners, its progress in advancing human rights. The Review is conducted in four year cycles and requires the preparation of a comprehensive national report highlighting progress made in advancing human rights. Belize’s last review was completed and submitted in 2009.

During the launch, presenters from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as the coordinating agency, offered information on the organizing process for the preparation of the second report and also provided a general overview of Belize’s status in relation to complying with international human rights obligations and recommendations by the international community (Read more)

Ombudsman, Mr. Lionel Arzu, was also on hand for the launching and gave the opening remarks while Ms. Antoinette Moore, Attorney-at-Law and Human Rights Commission representative, presented on some general observations regarding the strong points and shortcomings of observing and implementing human rights in Belize. Ms. Moore acknowledged the excellent record Belize has in regards to the ratification of human rights treaties, but noted the country’s deficiency when it comes to actual implementation of human rights, further stating that there is a disconnect between what the State says and actually does regarding human rights concerns in addition to its broader attitudinal, educational and complacency problems in advancing human rights.

The presentations were followed by an open floor session during which persons were given the opportunity to ask questions and/or comment on related issues. A wide cross-section of the Belizean public was in attendance with some members of the Maya Leaders Association, the Evangelical Association of Churches, the National Council for the Aging, the media and others taking the opportunity to voice their concerns as well as to commend the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for its initiative to hold such extensive consultations. This was welcomed by the Ministry’s panel who assured persons that their views as civil society’s contributions are essential to the process and will be taken into account not only in preparing the report but also in ultimately effecting meaningful change in human rights in Belize.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs proposes to carry out additional consultations across the nation in the coming months as well as to contact individual organizations for further contributions to the UPR process. In view of this, Chief Executive Officer at the Ministry, H.E. Alexis Rosado, encouraged similar active participation to make for a most comprehensive and accurate second report.