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Of Human Dignity, Privacy and the Right to Work.

Posted: Sunday, January 20, 2019. 12:21 pm CST.

views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.

By Lisa Shoman:  When we drafted the Constitution of Belize in 1980/81, we put some important safeguards for citizens in the preamble and body.

Things like the right to human dignity, the right to belief (or not) in a personal Creator, the right to privacy, and the right to work.

The matter of the Muffles College teacher who was asked to resign after nude photos of her were leaked and distributed, (allegedly without her knowledge or consent )raises all these safeguards.

When will we learn that teachers, women and teachers who are women HAVE A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO PRIVACY?

Yes. I’m shouting. I want to be HEARD.

Every person, woman or man has an absolute constitutional right to take and possess nude photos of himself/herself IN PRIVACY. Period.

If you distribute or circulate those photos to minors, or as an act of stalking or threat, then that is another issue, and potentially a criminal act.

But other than that, the person whose image is stolen and distributed, STILL HAS has a constitutional right to privacy.

The person who has shared such an image in private with another and has that image distributed without consent still has a constitutional right to privacy.

That person also has a constitutional right to work. And that is a protected constitutional right.

I fought the UNIBAM S. 53 challenge constitutional case because I believe, heart and soul in the constitutional safeguards afforded all Jewelizeans in our constitution such as right to privacy, human dignity, and inalienable human rights granted to each of us by our own vision of a Creator. It is MY bedrock. It is my assurance.

The nation that denies LGBT citizens, Indigenous citizens, Persons with Disabilities, Children, Women, or anyone else, for instance Teachers, those inalienable human rights, is a nation at war with itself. If the state is knowingly or recklessly complicit in the wrongdoings and violation, it is a warmonger.

The Muffles College authorities who are said to have responded to this teacher who was reportedly already robbed and violated,  to give her “the choice to resign and go quietly” are actively complicit in wrongdoing if indeed that is so.

They have not dared to go further because somehow, they KNOW they are wrong. The only authority to dismiss the teacher from this GOB grant-aided school is the Teaching Services Commission.

Investigate by all means. Investigate who robbed this teacher, who betrayed her trust, and who distributed her images without her express consent.

But it is ignorant and unenlightened Victorian-era barbarism to treat the possession by any person of nude images of themselves as some form of moral turpitude, as something shameful or simply wrong. Your constitutional rights confirm your private right.

Women are no longer chattel. We are femme sole. We have the right to property, the right to vote, the right to privacy, and the right to work.

This teacher has the right to work as long as she did not circulate or distribute those images to students. She has a constitutionally protected right to work.

But this teacher was allegedly robbed of her private property, her trust and privacy violated, and now she is the one being punished. She is the one who has been placed on administrative leave and is apparently being pressured to “go quietly”.

I’m so glad she won’t oblige. I’m glad she has a lawyer and intends to challenge the school and fight this travesty. Maria Roches did. And we all owe her a huge debt of gratitude including this teacher.

Caleb Orozco did and we all owe him a huge debt for obtaining a Supreme Court declaration that will stand for all time, unchallenged, as to the constitutional right of all in Belize to human dignity, and our inalienable right to privacy. And this teacher’s lawyer will no doubt cite this case.

Muffles College cannot be permitted to prevail with this reported attitude, or we return to the days when pregnant unmarried female teachers were cast out into the void, and teachers in common-law relationships were castigated with loss of work due to that mere fact.

We are, according to the Constitution, a nation founded on faith in God. We are also a nation founded on the inalienability of human rights to which we are all entitled. We are expected to act and live accordingly.

I not only expect, I demand to see a statement to that effect from the BNTU, ASAP. Our teachers deserve nothing less


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