Doreen Quelch-Missick has been reappointed as the chair of the Turks and Caicos Islands Human Rights Commission (HRC) for a further three years it was announced by Governor Roc Todd on Wednesday.
Four new appointments have also been made to the Human Rights Commission: Pastor Dennis Swann, Patricia Saxton Director of the Turks and Caicos National Museum, Carl Simmons of Tropical Shipping, and Sophie Stanbrook of Karam and Missick. Together they provide collective expertise on health, law and human rights advocacy, human rights and corporate/commercial law, non-profit organisation management, community outreach, business and banking.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the outgoing members of the Human Rights Commission for their sterling contributions these past three years,” said Todd. “The UK’s 2012 Overseas Territories White Paper is clear that the UK government expects the territories to abide by the same basic standards of human rights as the UK, and that territory governments have a duty to ensure local law complies with relevant international conventions and court judgements and is non-discriminatory.”
The TCI Constitution provides for the Human Rights Commission to promote the observance of human rights in the Turks and Caicos Islands; to receive and investigate complaints of breaches or infringements of rights or freedoms of the individual as set out in the Constitution or in international human rights treaties that have been extended to the Islands; provide advice on complaints; mediation; and, raise public awareness of human rights and issue guidance as required.
“I welcome the new membership to the Commission and look forward to a productive working relationship with a renewed commitment to the children, the poor, the disabled, the trafficking, exploitation and abuse of women, and to put an end to the continued discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDs,” said Quelch Missick.
“We remain resolute in our commitment to upholding the principles of human rights, ensuring that people are treated fairly with respect and dignity, and will continue our campaign against poverty, against prejudice, ignorance, against injustice and discrimination.”
One of the first tasks of the new Commission will be to work with the Governor, Government and Chambers, to take steps to further strengthen the HRC in line with, and in support of its duties, under the Constitution.
The Human Rights Commission is one of the six Constitutional bodies in the Turks and Caicos. The 2011 Constitution establishes six institutions for protecting good governance in the Turks and Caicos Islands: an Auditor General and a National Audit Office; a Complaints Commissioner; a Director of Public Prosecutions; a Human Rights Commission; an Integrity Commission; and a Supervisor of Elections.