More independent Human Rights Tribunal on cards
Legislation to set out the framework for a more independent tribunal to hear human rights complaints was approved by the House of Assembly on Friday.
Tinee Furbert, the Minister of Community, Culture and Sport, said the Human Rights Amendment Act 2021 would give the Human Rights Tribunal greater independence from the Human Rights Commission.
Ms Furbert said the amendments also set out who was able to sit on the tribunal, how it should be appointed and how many members it should have.
The members of the tribunal would be selected from a panel made up of between 12 and 15 people, including up to six barristers, and up to nine people with experience in human rights work.
Ms Furbert said that members of the HRC would not be allowed to sit on the tribunal until at least two years after their time on the commission had ended.
She added that the HRC was involved in the creation of the new policies as it recognised that the tribunal needed to be strengthened.
Susan Jackson, an OBA MP, said the legislation was a “true evolution” of human rights.
Ms Jackson said: “To see that the HRC is now reaching another level of integrity, that it is reaching another level of independence and best practice, is a good thing for Bermuda.”
Lovitta Foggo, a PLP backbencher, agreed that the changes would help to make sure people felt their complaints were properly heard.
Ianthia Simmons-Wade, another PLP backbencher, said the tribunal would give more people the opportunity to speak out against discrimination.
But she added the island needed greater protection against age discrimination.