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On World Parliament Day, refresher course offered on defense of constituents’ human rights

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Posted: Thursday, June 30, 2022. 9:51 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: June 30 every year is the International Day of Parliamentism or World Parliamentary Day as designated by the United Nations General Assembly.

Going beyond last year’s introductory statement, the National Assembly and Belize’s United Nations Country Office hosted a ‘master class’ course on human rights, providing awareness of critical treaties and conventions which Belize has signed and which will help members of the House of Representatives and Senate hone their debating skills on the Parliamentary floor.

Speaker of the House of Representatives Valerie Woods states, “It’s about looking at legislation through a human rights lens…this is an opportunity to remind them that when they are debating legislation, when you are scrutinizing legislation, using a human rights perspective…particularly paying attention to the people who are most marginalized, vulnerable, minorities, ensuring that social protections, for example, are applied equally and are not discriminatory.”

The United Nations has introduced a handbook on the topic for parliamentarians.

Even for those who are old hands in Belmopan, they may not be aware of all the extra-national legislative framework in place in addition to the Laws of Belize, and so Speaker Woods and President of the Senate Carolyn Trench-Sandiford have committed to strengthening the capacity of parliamentarians and providing them with the timeliest and most relevant information to help them do their job and engage with the public on the work of parliament.

The National Assembly staff, separate and apart from public officers who were recognized last week (as they come under a different regime) were honoured with a staff luncheon following the event.

 

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