Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Honourable Kamina Johnson Smith, says the Government will strive to advance all citizens’ civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights while giving special attention to protecting the most vulnerable.
The Minister was speaking at the 46th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on adopting the Outcome of Jamaica’s 3rd Cycle Universal Periodic Review on Wednesday, March 17.
Minister Johnson Smith acknowledged that “Jamaica also faces formidable challenges, which present genuine limitations on the country’s ability to implement the full range of measures which we would wish all our citizens to enjoy.” These challenges include capacity constraints and Jamaica’s vulnerability to external shocks such as extreme weather events and the COVID-19 pandemic.
She added that, despite these challenges, the Government would continue to pursue Jamaica’s transformation through the National Development Plan Vision 2030, which is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals of the global 2030 Agenda.
In reiterating the high importance Jamaica attaches to the Review exercise, the Minister underscored that the protection of human rights and the rule of law remain priorities for the GOJ. Johnson Smith thanked the states for their active participation. He acknowledged “the strong commendations for measures undertaken or which are underway, to strengthen the legal and institutional framework for the protection and advancement of human rights within the country.”
Johnson Smith said the Government would continue to work on the 120 recommendations that it accepted and collaborate with international partners to strengthen gender equality programmes and initiatives further, noting that there has been increased focus on improving the number of women in leadership and decision-making roles.
She emphasized that the protection of the vulnerable in society, including children, the elderly, women and person with disabilities, remains a critical area of focus for the Government.