Commonwealth workshop puts Dominica on track to fulfil human rights commitments

22 April 2024
Commonwealth workshop in Dominica

A Commonwealth human rights team is helping the government of Dominica to meet international obligations, clear the backlog of outstanding human rights treaty bodies reports and prepare for the upcoming Universal Periodic Review.

The Secretariat held a three-day workshop from 26 to 28 March 2024, for members of Dominica’s National Mechanism for Implementation, Reporting and Follow-up (NMIRF), who come from different ministries and departments.

The NMIRF’s role is to put systems in place to report to and engage with international and regional human rights mechanisms, including the United Nations (UN) Treaty Bodies, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council.

The workshop consultation aimed to build the capacity of the NMIRF in its engagement, coordination, consultation and information management, address the backlog of reports to treaty bodies, and prepare the NMIRF for Dominica’s UPR in its fourth cycle in November 2024.

Addressing participants at the opening session, H.E. Francine Baron, Ambassador-at-Large, and former Foreign Affairs Minister of Dominica: 

“Dominica is prepared to tackle challenges head-on so that we can build a robust reporting system. We are committed to exploring all suggestions, and to implementing the necessary actions.

“In addition to our collective endeavour to strengthen Dominica’s human rights reporting mechanism, it is imperative that we address the backlog of outstanding human rights treaty bodies reports. These reports serve as essential tools for evaluating our progress in fulfilling our obligations under international human rights treaties and conventions.”

She continued:

“This Technical Mission offers a timely opportunity to tackle this backlog. Through strategic planning, resource mobilisation, and capacity-building initiatives, we can streamline the reporting process, enhance coordination among relevant stakeholders, and expedite the submission of overdue reports to the respective treaty bodies.

“The fact this Mission is taking place signifies Dominica’s commitment to human rights justice, and the rule of law, and to our close relationship with our Commonwealth family.”

Kamila Bell, Foreign Service Officer at Dominica’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Business, Trade and Energy, who attended the workshop, said:

“We found the three days of the Commonwealth Secretariat workshop to be both informative and instructive. We have acquired a lot of information with regard to the human rights system, report treaty bodies, human rights mechanisms, and report procedures.

“It is exceptionally useful to us in fulfilment of our reporting obligations to the treaty bodies, as well as our full preparations for the cycle of UPR.”

Another participant, Ross Loramol, acting Director of Political Affairs at Dominica’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Business, Trade and Energy said:

“Primarily, in light of the fact that Small Islands and Developing states like ours often lack the technical resource and guidance, the workshop was necessary and very timely considering we have issues with past reports, and reports submissions.”

In April 2019, the Commonwealth Secretariat organised the first stakeholder meeting on establishing an NMIRF in Dominica. The country established its NMIRF through a cabinet decision in 2019.