The recent observance of Human Rights Day reignited calls for more to be done to respect human rights in Saint Lucia.
Rights advocate Mary Francis has called on the government of Saint Lucia to do more to protect human rights. Saint Lucia has faced the ire of international human rights watchdogs over the past two years following allegations of extrajudicial killings by members of its police force.
It also faced sanctions against the law enforcement body, including the removal of vital aid. Francis has vowed to continue championing for change.
“We have to continue advocating for those people. I am not going to let it rest. I am saying the image of the police force is at stake. The integrity of the police force also. People's confidence in the justice system was shaken. You also have Saint Lucia's image abroad,” she said.
Last month, the United Nations conducted its review of Saint Lucia's human rights situation and recommended strengthening the island's human rights legislative framework and establishing an independent national rights monitoring mechanism.
Citizens agree that there is need for improvement where rights are concerned. “It's being taken for granted to a certain extent. A lot more should be done from all perspectives in Saint Lucia, as it pertains to protecting human rights. There's the thing of killing, if it's done by some it's right and if it's done by others it's wrong and for me killing is killing period,” Shanna James told teleSUR.
The island has made strides to address rights concerns. In September, the government rolled out a "Use of Force" policy for the police, hoping to ensure that officers adhere to proper practices.
Francis says there is still a long way to go. She is calling for the establishment of a National Human Rights Commission to safeguard the rights to which she says every person is entitled to. According to Francis, speedy remedy and accountability for human rights violations would help restore confidence in the justice system.