BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Monday 5th April 2021)-The US State Department has issued its 2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices in other countries around the world of which St.Kitts and Nevis is included with areas such as corruption, sexual assault and workplace issues being highlighted.
The review , which was publicized on Tuesday 30th March 2021 via www.state.gov, covers seven sections which include worker’s rights, discrimination and societal abuses, government attitude toward alleged abuses of human rights, lack of transparency in government, freedom to participate in the political process, respect for civil liberties and respect for the integrity of the person.
A review of country report on St. Kitts and Nevis shows that a number of laws continue to be in place to promote the right of citizens. It also outlines areas of weakness that the country would need to review to ensure that human rights practices in this country meets internationally acceptable standards.
St. Kitts and Nevis is considered to be lacking in its transparency mechanisms that are associated with the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme. Section 4 of the report states that in 2020, “Citizens expressed concern about the lack of financial oversight of revenues generated by the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme.”
This issue persists even after the St. Kitts and Nevis introduced measures to make the CBI process more transparent. In 2020, the government of St. Kitts and Nevis withheld information on the number of passports issued through the programme and the nationalities of the new passport holders.
Section 4 also outlines that in 2020, media and private citizens reported government corruption was a problem. Furthermore, the report highlights that the provisions are not in place that subject public officials to disclose their assets and finances.
Lack of transparency and the cloak of corruption were also pointed out where the report showed that in St. Kitts and Nevis, “The Financial Intelligence Unit and the police white-collar crime unit investigated reports of suspicious financial transactions, but these reports were not available to the public.”
In Section 7, the report outlined the substandard occupational safety and health (OSH) standards for workers in St. Kitts and Nevis. The US State Department stated, “The [St. Kitts and Nevis] government sets occupational safety and health (OSH) standards that were outdate.”
The Ministry of Labour was portrayed as being reactionary since “it relied primarily on worker complaints to trigger inspections of facilities using informal [labour].” Such a situation exists even though, “The number of [labour] inspectors was sufficient to enforce compliance.”
The US generated 2020 review document made mention of the pronounced issues of rape and sexual harassment in St. Kitts and Nevis. It pointed out that “Court cases and anecdotal evidence suggested that rape, including spousal rape, was a problem”. Also, in 2020, “The press reported that sexual harassment occurred in the workplace.”
The US State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices assess the ways different nation states and their governments obey the UN declaration of human rights.
Access official report: