Who's Afraid of Human Rights?

Fifth Distinguished Jurist Lecture 2015 by Dame Linda Dobbs, DBE

Dame Linda Dobbs D.B.E., the Distinguished Jurist for the Judicial Education Institute of Trinidad and Tobago's Fifth Distinguished Jurist Lecture, delivered the lecture "Who's Afraid of Human Rights? The Judge's Dilemma" at the Convocation Hall, Hall of Justice, Port of Spain, Trinidad on May 13th, 2015. In this lecture, Dame Linda plays devil's advocate, exploring the legislative avenues that Trinidad and Tobago must take in order to achieve "developed nation" status by 2020. She first delves into her UK experience with an overview of the history behind the introduction of UK's 1998 Human Rights Act. Following this, she looks at four specific areas where Trinidad and Tobago's national legislation does not provide protection for various classes of citizens: capital punishment, corporal punishment, imprisonment of young people, and sexual orientation. In the subsequent Panel Discussion, four panellists were invited to elaborate upon the issues raised by Dame Linda: The Honourable Madame Justice Maureen Rajnauth-Lee, Dr. Francis Alexis, Professor Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, and Dr. Dylan Kerrigan. Each panellist's analysis of the human rights environment of Trinidad and Tobago, shaped by their varying academic and professional backgrounds, contributes significantly to a discussion with significant repercussions for the wider society of Trinidad and Tobago.

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