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Mar 29, 2000

Human Rights Commission objects to whipping

The Human Rights Commission is condemning the revival of the use of the tamarind whip to flog inmates at the Hattieville Prison. The HRCB says the recent whipping of two prisoners is in clear violation of Section Seven of the Constitution of Belize, which states, “No person shall be subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading punishment or other treatment.” HRCB says it also contravenes Article Five of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article Seven of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ratified in 1996, as well as the UN Convention Against Torture, which Belize signed in 1986. The HRCB says they consider whipping a barbaric form of punishment and would hope that in the year 2000 the Government of Belize could find a more enlightened and less barbaric way of punishing persons, who commit offenses in prison. In their view “violence breeds violence.” Minister Responsible for Prisons Dickie Bradley says the whip has been brought back in an effort to restore order to the prison and the move was recommended by a group of visiting justices. It will be used only in cases where prisoners have injured other inmates, not as punishment for crimes committed “on the outside.”

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