Hu­man Rights Ad­vo­cate Speaks Out

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

ASaint Lu­cian hu­man and gen­der rights ad­vo­cate based in Bar­ba­dos is re­act­ing to the lo­cal gov­ern­ment’s re­fusal to lift the diplo­matic im­mu­nity granted to a Saudi Ara­bian bil­lion­aire in or­der for him to face a civil suit brought against him by his ex-wife.

Diplo­matic im­mu­nity in­volves ex­emp­tion from the en­force­ment of one or more laws of a host coun­try granted to res­i­dent for­eign di­plo­mats. Its pur­pose is to en­sure that the of­fi­cial du­ties of for­eign am­bas­sadors are not im­peded.

But Ms. Feli­cia Browne re­marks that al­though the ra­tio­nale for diplo­matic im­mu­nity has merit, its ap­pli­ca­tion as a means to un­der­mine the In­ter­na­tional hu­man rights of in­di­vid­u­als or groups con­sti­tutes an abuse of power.

Browne points to Dr Walid Juf­fali’s case as one such ex­am­ple of a clear vi­o­la­tion of Christina Estrada’s rights.

She is of the view that a ma­jor omis­sion in the Vi­enna Con­ven­tion on Diplo­matic Re­la­tions agree­ment is that it was not de­signed to pro­tect the rights of vic­tims who may be af­fected by diplo­matic im­mu­nity. Such vic­tims typ­i­cally be­long to the most vul­ner­a­ble groups, i.e., women and chil­dren, many of whom have lit­tle or no ac­cess to le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tion or re­dress.

Browne adds that there are known in­stances where many vic­tims are left with­out com­pen­sa­tion or ret­ri­bu­tion for the harms done against them, as in cases of hu­man traf­fick­ing and mi­grant do­mes­tic work­ers. She says that al­though diplo­matic im­mu­nity is rec­og­nized un­der In­ter­na­tional law, so­ci­ety must speak out when its ap­pli­ca­tion con­sti­tutes an abuse of power and un­der­mines the rights of vic­tims who do not enjoy diplo­matic priv­i­leges.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Saint Lucia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.