Human Rights Report says political rights respected, raises concern on domestic and child abuse

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, APRIL 10TH 2011 (CUOPM) – The St. Kitts and Nevis Government has no restrictions on academic freedom or cultural events and generally respected freedom of peaceful assembly and association, freedom of movement within the country, foreign travel, emigration and repatriation.

According to the 2010 Human Rights Report, although the government has not signed the 1967 protocol to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, has not established a system for providing protection to refugees, and did not routinely grant refugee status or asylum, it did not expel or return refugees to countries where their lives or freedom would be threatened on account of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion as no such cases arose during the year.

“The government cooperated with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and was prepared to cooperate with other humanitarian organizations in providing protection and assistance to internally displaced persons, refugees, returning refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, and other persons of concern. There was an honorary UNHCR liaison in the country,” said the Report released over the weekend.

With regard to respect for political rights and the right of citizens to change their Government, the Human Rights Report noted that the constitution provides citizens with the right to change their government peacefully and “citizens exercised this right in practice through periodic, free, and fair elections held on the basis of universal suffrage.”

The Report noted that the law provides criminal penalties for official corruption, and the government generally implemented these laws effectively.

“Public officials are not subject to financial disclosure laws, and there is no agency responsible for combating government corruption. While no laws provide for public access to government information, the government maintained a Web site with limited information concerning government actions,” the Report said.

It noted while there are no governmental restrictions on human rights groups, no local human rights groups operated in the country and there were no requests for investigations or visits by international human rights groups during the year.

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