Senator Maureen Payne-Hyman, who is Antigua & Barbuda’s representative to the UN Committee against Tortue says she will not accept responsibility for the country’s absence during a recent review hearing.
When contacted for comments on why the country was absent, Payne-Hyman said she was ready for a video conference call which never materialised.
“I am not a technical person, I suggest you ring the prime minister’s office and speak to someone who deals with video conferencing. I was there, and the fact that it could not be connected is not my issue, you to go and speak to someone else,” she told a local radio station.
After Antigua & Barbuda ratified the convention in 1993, it was mandated to submit a progress report to the committee annually.
A report has not been submitted since 1994.
In response, the Senator says she was not apart of the public service at that time.
“I haven’t been working for the government for several decades, so I cannot help you,” she told a local radio station.
After signing on to the convention, countries must provide their first report within one year of signing and every four years there after.
A UN official said on the 19th and 20th July 2017, Payne-Hyman of Antigua and Barbuda replied by email and stated that she did her best to arrange a testing for video conferencing but did not have the authority to make such commitment.
The Convention requires states to take effective measures to prevent torture in any territory under their jurisdiction and forbids states to transport people to any country where there is a reason to believe they will be tortured.