Barbados ‘should take the lead’
Human rights activitist Dr Irene Khan is advising Barbados to use its position as “an oasis of stability” in the Caribbean region to take leadership and help other regional “trouble spots” to resolve their problems.
In an interview with the Daily Nation, Khan said it was very dificult in today’s globalised world to be an oasis of stability when there were “other points of instability in the neighbourhood”.
“That is why it is very important for Barbados to take the leadership in the region, to support and help resolve some of the really big trouble spots like Haiti for instance and a few others, because otherwise you will feel the effects of immigrants coming in, the drug trade, organised crime, things that are cross-border problems”.
Khan delivered the 35th Sir Winston Scott Memorial Lecture sponsored by the Central Bank at the Frank Collymore Hall recently.
She said she was “very touched by the number of people that turned up.”
During the question and answer period following the lecture, a number of people in the audience related personal stories of negative encounters with the Royal Barbados Police Force. Khan told the Daily Nation: “I also found people very courageous because many of them were raising issues about problems they had faced with the police and they were doing it openly.
“It brought a sign of the openness of the society and I think Barbados is still an open society where you can raise things like that in public.”
The extent to which human rights issues resonate with Barbadians also impressed the former secretary-general of Amnesty International.
She explained: “Human rights is not about law, human rights is about values. That means the people have to make those values their own, get engaged with those issues and debates and I have seen that here. I think that is a very healthy sign of a society.” (GC)