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The Equality & Human Rights Commission News

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E&HRC seeks IT Support (August 2018)

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is seeking invitations to tender for the provision of I.T. Support.

Work will include upgrading the network infrastructure and synchronising all computers, maintaining hardware and software.

For further details and a specification, interested persons may contact Mrs Carol Thompson on telephone 22133 or email admin@humanrightssthelena.org. Bids must be sent in a sealed envelope to Mrs Thompson, Equality and Human Rights Office, PWSD Yard, Jamestown by no later than 31st August 2018.

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Annual Report for 2017-18 Issued (March 2018)

The Equality & Human Rights Commission has issued its Annual Report for 2017-18. The document discusses what the Commission did in the year and its plans for the future. It is a detailed report full of useful statistics, and can be read/downloaded from the Documents page.

Also issued at the same time is an article about the right to water. This is on the Articles page.

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Equality & Human Rights Commission inquiry into the condition of detention at Her Majesty’s Prison, Jamestown, St Helena (March 2018)

Introduction

The Equality & Human Rights Commission, having noted reports concerning conditions at the Her Majesty’s Prison Jamestown, St Helena, has decided to conduct an inquiry. This is in accordance with Section 15 of the Equality & Human Rights Ordinance 2015, under which the Commission may conduct an inquiry into a matter relating to any of its duties. The inquiry will be carried out as detailed in procedures set out in Schedule 2 of the Ordinance.

Scope of the Inquiry

The Commission will examine the human rights of prisoners, with a particular focus on their conditions of detention. It will consider a number of areas, including, among others:

Aims

The purpose of the inquiry is to assess the conditions of detention in the prison against relevant human rights standards, including:

A final report, including recommendations will be published by the Commission and made publicly available. Copies of the report will be submitted, to St Helena Government, the United Kingdom Government and the United Nations, pursuant to the Commission’s functions as a National Human Rights Institutions operating in accordance with the provision of the United Nations General Assembly resolution 48/134 (the Paris Principles).

Time Scales

The inquiry begins on 19th March 2018 and is scheduled to be completed by 11th May 2018.

Members of the public, with relevant experience of the prison are welcome to meet with the Inquiry Panel to give evidence. All information will be treated in confidence.

For an appointment with the Panel, further information and/or a copy of the full Terms of Reference of the Inquiry please contact Mrs Carol Thompson, Executive Manager, Equality & Human Rights Commission, on Tel (+290) 22133 or email admin@humanrightssthelena.org [or download it here].

Catherine Harris Cranfield
Chair of Commissioners

You can download a copy of this release.

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Website Re-launched (January 2018)

In October 2016 the E&HRC experimented with a different website solution, but sadly this did not work out as we hoped so we have returned to the site maintained for us by software.burghhouse.com Burgh House Software opens in a new window or tab The Equality & Human Rights Commission The Equality & Human Rights Commission NewsBurgh House Software (part of burghhouse.com Burgh House opens in a new window or tab The Equality & Human Rights Commission The Equality & Human Rights Commission NewsBurgh House Limited).

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Post-Conference Pack (September 2016)

We have now included the Conference 2016 post-attendance pack on our Documents page. It gives details of what was discussed at the conference, as well as many useful contacts for the speakers and the attendees.

Or you can download it from this link: 20160928conferencepostattendancepack.pdf.

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Strategic Plan published (August 2016)

The Equality & Human Rights Commission are proud to be able to share with you our first Strategic Plan, which is the result of six months’ work and research.

The Strategy is based on our experience through the Human Rights Capacity Building Committee and the Human Right Office developed since 2008, research and consultation with Elected Members, SHG, Community Groups and the general public. In addition we have included relevant actions from among others:

We extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has contributed.

On behalf of the EHRC I should like to confirm our commitment to act as an independent and impartial body supporting the development of an equal and fair society for the Island.

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Office officially opened (December 2015)

The Equality & Human Righs Office was officially opened in a short ceremony on 10th December 2015 (to coincide with International Human Rights Day).

Guests present included His Excellency the Acting Governor, Mr. Sean Burns; Equality & Human Rights Commissioners; Councillors and others.

Chair of the Commission, Mrs. Cathy Hopkins delivered a short speech, as below, and the ribbon was cut by Mr. Basil George who declared the office officially open.

Speech by Chair of the Commission, Mrs. Cathy Hopkins:

Your Excellency, invited guests, fellow Commissioners - today marks a milestone for St. Helena so a very warm welcome.

After almost exactly seven years of work, the Island has a National Human Rights Institution in the form of the Equality & Human Rights Commission. The work really started before that when awareness of our right to be British citizens was taken away from us and the Citizenship Commission took on the task of battling to have the right restored. Hence our choice of Mr. Basil George former Chairman of the Citizenship Commission to perform the Opening of the EHRC office.

The past seven years have seen awareness of rights and the responsibilities which come with those rights increase among all sectors of our community, and this has been in large part due to the hard work of the Human Rights Capacity Building Committee and the Human Rights Facilitator, and the more recent support of the Social & Community Development Committee which oversaw the legislation which has led to the establishment of the EHRC as a statutory body.

It is both a privilege and a huge responsibility to be a Commissioner and all of us are engaged in a steep learning curve to equip ourselves to fulfil the work we are tasked with as an Independent body.

The Commission operates an open door policy, we operate on the basis of absolute confidentiality, we will continue to raise awareness of rights and responsibilities, we will undertake investigations as and when we identify rights issues.

Since being appointed Commissioners, we have met weekly to undergo training led by the CEO Mrs. Catherine Turner; we see this training as ongoing. We have already responded to approaches from the public and there are several investigations in progress; we expect the office to be as busy as it has been over the past few years if not busier.

St. Helena was the first Overseas Territory to receive training under the initial Commonwealth Foundation and DFID supported project, it was the first to prepare and adopt a National Human Rights Action Plan and, I suspect we may be the first to establish a National Human Rights Commission. If this is the case, then it is something of which we should be justly proud. I hope that over the next decade St. Helena will be able to be as proud of her work to uphold Equality & Human Rights for all of her community.

I am not going to try to say thank you to individuals as far too many people have been involved in the work leading up to the establishment of the EHRC but will simply say a very sincere thank you to everyone who has played their part along the way.

I should now like to invite Mr. Basil George former Chairman of the Citizenship Commission and advocate for not only our Citizenship Rights but for Human Rights as a whole, if he will cut the ribbon and formally declare the EHRC Office & Commission open for business.

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First Commissioners Appointed (October 2015)

The first Equality & Human Rights Commissioners were appointed by Governor Mark Capes on 6th October 2015, so the Commission can now commence work.

The first Commissioners are:

You can read the Warrant.

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Equality & Human Rights Commission starts 1st August (July 2015)

The bill creating the Equality & Human Rights Commission was passed by LegCo{1} on 8th July 2015. This formalises the structure and operation of the new Equality & Human Rights Commission for St. Helena. You can read more about the new Commission on our Articles page.

It is currently expected that the Governor will promptly sign the bill into law, and that the Equality & Human Rights Commission will commence work on 1st August 2015.

The Commission’s new logo is as shown below.

Equality & Human Rights Commission logo The Equality & Human Rights Commission The Equality & Human Rights Commission News

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Legal advice and representation (May 2015)

The Human Rights Office is pleased to advise that two UK lawyers who specialise in representing victims of child abuse have agreed to make themselves available to advise and represent victims in St. Helena.

Hugh James logo The Equality & Human Rights Commission The Equality & Human Rights Commission News

Alan Collins has successfully represented victims in many high profile cases such as, for example, the Jersey children’s home case known as Haut de la Garenne.

If you would like to discuss your own case with Alan please contact the Human Rights Office in confidence.

Alan is a partner in Hugh James solicitors in London.

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We’ve moved - again! (February 2015)

Poster in The Independent 20 February 2015 The Equality & Human Rights Commission The Equality & Human Rights Commission News

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New leaflet (September 2014)

Please go to our Documents page (“Discussion Documents” section) and download our new leaflet “Who’s Right? - The Citizenship Commission’s proposal for a National Human Rights Body for St. Helena”. The leaflet sets out the arguments in favour of the new body. The Citizenship Commission is asking SHG to support the establishment of the Saint Helena Human Rights Commission to promote and protect our human rights. Then please contact your councillor to express your support.

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Announcement: Second National Human Rights Action Plan (August 2014)

Three years ago the first National Human Rights Action Plan for St. Helena was produced. We are now in the final year of the work towards achieving the goals agreed in the plan. We have gone a long way to achieving the desired outcomes, St. Helena has made notable progress, however we can still improve.

The Human Rights Capacity Building Committee, through the Human Rights Facilitator, Catherine Turner, are beginning the consultation process that will underpin the development of the Second National Human Rights Action Plan for St. Helena. The National Action Plan will be evidence based, developed in an inclusive way and independently monitored. It will be a concrete plan to fill ‘gaps’, build on good practice and help St. Helena look outwards and move forward. Experience from other Commonwealth countries, amongst others, shows the potential of this approach to deliver real and sustainable improvements in the realisation of rights for all, particularly the most marginalised and vulnerable.

The Human Rights Capacity Building Committee is facilitating this open and inclusive process of development and monitoring of the Second National Human Rights Action Plan for St. Helena. A series of consultation meetings, workshops and visits will take place over the next 3 months. What is important is that everyone is welcome to participate. Your opinions are crucial; we cannot have an inclusive action plan without input from all sections of society. We invite you to join the HRCBC in ensuring that St. Helena’s Second National Action Plan for Human Rights leads to significant and sustainable improvements min the way that St. Helena assures the realisation of all human rights by everyone.

Please come along to one of our advertised events or for a confidential one to one meeting please contact Catherine Turner.

Hon. Les Baldwin, Chairperson, Human Rights Capacity Building Committee

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Celebrate UN Peace Day (September 2013)

UN Peace Day poster The Equality & Human Rights Commission The Equality & Human Rights Commission News

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Retired news items can be read on the ‘News Archives’ page.


Footnotes:

{1}Legislative Council’, effectively the island’s parliament.



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