Montego Bay, Jamaica, 26 September 2015
On Saturday 26 September, members of the Caribbean judiciary were brought together at an Equal Rights Trust workshop in Jamaica, to discuss judicial practice related to equality, including in respect to economic and social rights and LGBT rights.
The workshop was part of the Caribbean Association of Judicial Officers (CAJO) biennial conference and featured the Equal Rights Trust Executive Director Dimitrina Petrova, the Trust’s Head of Litigation Joanna Whiteman, and the Hon Jacqueline Cornelius, Justice of the Barbados Supreme Court.
The panellists discussed the evolution, trends and current concerns in equality law, stressing that the Caribbean region is lagging behind global good practices in terms of both national legislation related to equality of effective protection from discrimination at the national and regional levels. A special focus of the presentations and discussions was the very poor protection of sexual minorities from discrimination and the lack of fulfilment of equal rights for LGBT persons in the Caribbean.
Judges present at the workshop shared their own views and discussed the challenges they meet in adjudicating discrimination cases. Many judges expressed concern with the region’s failure to protect people from discrimination regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and good will to stimulate progress in this area.
A second focus of the workshop was the realization of economic and social rights through equality strategies. The advantages of litigating socio-economic rights cases in the form of discrimination claims were brought to the attention of the Caribbean judiciary by reference to the Equal Rights Trust’s 2014 Guide Economic and Social Rights in the Courtroom. There was strong recognition of the need to enforce economic and social rights on a par with civil and political rights, and judicial officers showed active interest in achieving better enforcement through discrimination claims.
The workshop was co-sponsored by the Equal Rights Trust partnering with CAJO, and is the first step in a longer-term relationship. To read more on the event please click here.
- To read more about the Equal Rights Trust’s work on applying equality strategies to advance economic and social rights click here.
- To read about the Trust’s work on equality, LGBT rights and socio-economic rights in Guyana click here.
- To download Social and Economic Rights: A Litigator's Guide to Using Equality and Non-Discrimination Strategies to Advance Economic and Social Rights click here.