Message from the Equal Opportunity Tribunal in commemoration of Human Rights Day 2019
As the only anti-discrimination court in the English-speaking Caribbean, the Equal Opportunity Tribunal is pleased to observe United Nations Human Rights Day 2019. Anti-discrimination law is an important component of human rights advocacy. The Tribunal, as a superior court of record has the exclusive jurisdiction under the Equal Opportunity Act to grant powerful remedies, like the High Court such as injunctions to restrain acts of discrimination, fines and orders for unlimited damages to protect against discrimination.
The 2019 Human Rights theme of “Youth standing up for human rights” is a call for us as a nation to celebrate the potential of our youth as constructive agents of change. It reminds us that we must empower our youth to better know their rights and encourage them to take a stand against discrimination and victimisation.
Human rights is at the centre of The Tribunal’s work as our remit is aligned with the UNDP’s Sustainable Development Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions. We strive to be an indigenous court that members of the society can confidently rely on to decide complaints of discrimination that fall within our remit, fairly and expeditiously, and by so doing zealously guard and enforce their rights.
In keeping with this year’s theme, the Tribunal intends to take steps to ensure that more of our nation’s youth know their rights and claim the remedies that the Tribunal can grant so as to participate in decisions that have direct and indirect impact on their well-being.
Knowledge is key. As a judicial body, the Tribunal will support youth activists by imparting knowledge of anti-discrimination law in Trinidad and Tobago to groups of youth and young legal minds so that together we can peacefully and powerfully change our society for the better. During the next few months, we intend to host judicial education sessions that will empower youth and the general public to be aware of the remedies for discrimination that are available at the Tribunal.
We at the Equal Opportunity Tribunal salute the youth of our nation who are lifting their voices and bringing fresh perspectives for the advancement on human rights and dignity. As the drivers of political and social transformations, our youth in collective movements can be the source of inspiration for a more sustainable Trinidad and Tobago. Let us continue to empower our youth to know their rights and create a future of peace, justice and equal opportunity for all.