The Canadian Government funded Improved Access to Justice in the Caribbean (IMPACT Justice) Project sponsored a report entitled “Unmasking the Commonwealth Caribbean COVID-19 Legal Response: A Rule of Law and Human Rights Analysis One Year+ On in a Public Health Crisis”.
This report forms part one of the Project’s three-part COVID-19 Legal Response Series and provides a general overview of the emergency measures adopted in the Caribbean to address the COVID-19 pandemic between March 2020 and mid-2021, paying particular attention to the extent to which these measures are compliant with the rule of law and human rights obligations. The Report also considers generally, the legal and institutional frameworks adopted by 11 CARICOM Member States, namely, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago and assesses in particular, the functioning of key institutions such as Parliament and the Judiciary during the pandemic.
Part 2 of the Series, which will be available soon, comprises a case law compendium entitled COVID-19 Regulations and the Rule of Law. It presents and discusses the findings in cases decided in regional courts related to emergency measures taken during 2020 and the first part of 2021. Part 3 which is also in the process of being finalised, presents data on developments in individual CARICOM countries in a well packaged and easily followed manner.
All together, the 3-part series provides a comprehensive map of the justice sector’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and where necessary, assesses how these measures have impacted various sectors of society including, inter alia, prison populations, persons with disabilities, refugees and migrants, women and girls, children, indigenous persons, and persons living with HIV. The reports also provide comprehensive lists of recommendations which are in part guided by extensive desk reviews, the mapping of legislation and consideration of international standards and best practices.
It is hoped that these timely resource materials will not only provide a historical record of the COVID -19 pandemic and the justice sector’s response but can serve as a resource to guide the region as it continues to consider policies to protect citizens from the further spread of COVID-19. IMPACT Justice thanks Mr. Rashad Brathwaite the compiler of this study and his many contributors for this body of work.
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