12th Session of the UPR Working Group
Delegation of the United States of America
Geneva, October 4, 2011
– as delivered –
It gives us great pleasure to extend our warm regards to our colleague, His Excellency Ambassador Francis, and welcome the Trinidadian delegation to the UPR Working Group. Having carefully reviewed the content of the report and followed the presentation today, we would like to make the following comment and recommendations.
We commend Trinidad and Tobago for its commitment to human rights. The report submitted to the UPR reveals continued efforts undertaken by the Trinidadian government to promote the protection of human rights, including significant efforts to expand access to education and healthcare, assist those with disabilities, and create greater safeguards for those with HIV/AIDS. We take appreciate note of the comprehensive remarks Ambassador Francis has made regarding each of these subjects, and we look forward to further cooperation with Trinidad and Tobago to address these issues, and to generally strengthen human rights in Trinidad and Tobago and throughout the region.
However, significant challenges related to the growth of crime in Trinidad and Tobago continue to undermine the full protection of human rights in the country. This includes the use of extreme force by police, allegations of violations of due process, and poor prison conditions.
Bearing in mind these and other concerns, the United States offers the following recommendations, that Trinidad and Tobago:
1. Take the necessary steps to ensure police and security forces operate with greater respect for human rights, such as including comprehensive human rights and rule- of-law components in training for security forces;
2. Work to reduce the case backlog and address the inefficiencies in the judicial system that contribute to lengthy pretrial detentions and exacerbate difficult prison conditions;
3. Enact draft human trafficking legislation to improve prosecution of trafficking offenders and protections for victims of forced labor and sex trafficking, and finally;
4. Increase measures to ensure that violence and discrimination against members of vulnerable groups, such as women and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons, are both prevented and prosecuted.