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Human Rights Commission takes Police to task on State of Emergency

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Posted: Thursday, September 13, 2018. 12:35 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: To ensure the protection of the human rights of everyone detained under the provisions of the State of Emergency, the Human Rights Commission of Belize (HRCB) has written to the Commissioner of Police requesting updates on the department’s activities.

In a letter dated September 12, HRCB Vice President Kevin Authurs, wrote to Commissioner Allen Whylie, requesting information and reminding the department that the temporary suspension of fundamental rights is not a license for the department to be arbitrary or commit abuse.

The HRCB has asked Commissioner Whylie to provide updates on several matters including the rules and regulations of the proclamation of the state of emergency, as required by the Constitution; the Emergency owers Review Tribunal, which is required to be overseen by a legal practitioner appointed by the Chief Justice; an account of the condition of each prisoner held under the State of Emergency proclamation; and confirmation that the state has provided each prisoner with the grounds for their detention, as required by Section 19 of the constitution, among other things.

“The Police Department must bear in mind that dispensation by virtue of the proclamation of the need for a warrant or other due process check and balances does not abolish the need for a lawful reason and just cause for any detention,” the HRCB said.

The commission says that it has been liaising with the Belize Bar Association and monitoring public statements made by law enforcement personnel with respect tot he one-month period of detention that persons detained under the proclamation will be facing. The commission emphasized that it is committed to assisting authorities in working through the state of emergency without causing irreparable damage to the law-abiding citizenry.

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