December 10, 2020

Statement by Deputy Peter Roffey
Human Rights Day plea for States to deliver on previous commitments

Thursday 10 December 2020

Today marks the United Nations Human Rights Day and the President of the Committee for Employment & Social Security has called on the new States to, this term, finally deliver proportionate discrimination legislation.

While Deputy Peter Roffey welcomed the recent announcement that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child has been formally extended to Guernsey, he said there was still much work to do.

‘It is great news about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It’s been a long time coming and its extension shows that the States of Guernsey has demonstrated a necessary level of compliance against its Articles. But we must keep pushing forward and there are still many areas where we fall short. The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) was extended to Guernsey in 1969. 51 years later, racial discrimination is still not prohibited in Guernsey.  This must change.

‘The discrimination legislation currently being drafted following the decision of the last States acknowledging its much-needed development will go a long way to meeting our international commitments and today, on Human Rights Day, I urge my colleagues in the States to remain supportive of that hugely important workstream as it progresses.

‘We also need to progress towards extension of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Only then will the Bailiwick have met what I would consider to be fairly basic standards when compared to similarly forward-thinking and just jurisdictions.’

The theme for this year’s United Nations Human Rights Day relates to the COVID-19 pandemic and focuses on the need to build back better by ensuring that Human Rights are central to recovery efforts.

Creating equal opportunities and addressing inequalities, exclusion and discrimination will ensure that the island is a better more resilient and sustainable place to live in the future.

The Human Rights (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law came into effect on 1st September 2006.The law incorporates the provisions set out in the European Convention on Human Rights into Bailiwick law. It also makes it unlawful for a public authority to act in a way which clashes with those provisions.

The law ensures that everyone in the Bailiwick is entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the European Convention on Human Rights.

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