Wednesday 23 October, 2019

Law Professor: Time to face reality of human rights violations in T&T

Professor Rose Marie Belle-Antoine, Dean of the Faculty of Law, said we need to confront the reality that serious violations of human rights and other atrocities are occurring every day in our nation.

In a statement responding to reports that 69 people were rescued from the Transformed Life Ministry Rehabilitation Centre in Arouca, the Dean said we cannot continue to bury our hands in the sand.

"I am dismayed at the breaking news about 69 persons found in cages in a facility in Arouca and we commend the police for its decisive action. The reasons for this travesty are still emerging, whether for supposed treatment of mental illness, homelessness, suspicions of trafficking in persons, or slavery. However, what is clear is that irrespective of the reason, each and every person is entitled to freedom, the right not to be deprived of their liberty, the right to dignity and personhood," she said. 

The Dean said concerns about torture at the treatment meted out to these captives are also alarming and contravene every known human right principle and standards of ethical and humane conduct.

"It is telling that this has been revealed at a time when we focus on Mental Health week and seek to elevate our previously poor understandings of and support given to the documented high number of persons in our society who experience mental health issues.

"As a society, we should also reflect on the disturbing phenomenon of the many homeless persons on our streets, which exposes the vulnerability of persons who should be in our care," she said.

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