Committee on economic, social and cultural rights




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COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL

AND CULTURAL RIGHTS

28th session

29 April-17 May 2002


Item 6 of the provisional agenda

CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES IN ACCORDANCE WITH ARTICLE 16 OF THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS



REPLIES BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THE THE REPUBLIC OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO


TO

the list of issues(E/C.12/TR&TOB/1) to be taken up in connection with the consideration of the second periodic report of TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO concerning the rights

referred to in articles 1-15 of the International Covenant on

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (E/1990/6/Add.30)



HR/CESCR/NONE/2002/2

I. GENERAL INFORMATION
A: General legal framework within which human rights are protected
1. Please provide information on how the rights under the Covenant are protected and implemented in national legislation other than the Constitution. Please also provide information on case law with regard to the rights set forth in the Covenant resulting in the award of compensation for violations.
National legislation, other than the Constitution, which protects the rights under the Covenant, includes the legislation described in the table below. Please note that newly enacted legislation and draft legislation (bills) are included in this table. Also included are pieces of legislation omitted from mention in the report. The legislation not referred to in the report and newly drafted legislation are referred to and explained in the responses to questions under the specific articles below.


Relevant Article of the Covenant

Title of Domestic Legislation

Relevant paragraph

of the Report

Article 1




The Tobago House of Assembly Act,

No.40 of 1996

Para.21-T&T’s

3rd &4th Periodic reports

under ICCPR

(hereinafter ICCPR)-

Ref: CCPR/C/TT0/99/3




Article 2



The Equal Opportunity Act, No.69 of 2000

The Education Act, Chapter 39:01

The Judicial Review Act, No.60 of 2000

The Ombudsman Act, Chapter 2:52

The Maternity Protection Act, No.4 of 1998


Para.74


Para.33

Paras.45-46-ICCPR

Para.55-ICCPR

Article 3




The Maternity Protection Act, No.4 of 1998

The Domestic Violence Act, No.27 of 1999

The Legal Aid and Advice (Amendment) Act,

No.18 of 1999

The Sexual Offences (Amendment)Act,

No. 31 of 2000.

Para.55-ICCPR

Para.41

Para.43-ICCPR


Not in Report

Article 6




Equal Opportunity Act, No. 69 of 2000

Basic Conditions of Work Bill,2000

Para.74


Not in Report


Relevant Article of

the Covenant

Title of Domestic Legislation

Relevant paragraph

of the Report

Article 7


The Minimum Wages Act, Chap. 88:04

The Unemployment Levy Act, Chapter 75:03

The Factories Ordinance, 1948 (CAP.30/2)

The Occupational Safety and Health (No.2)

Bill,2001

The Basic Conditions of Work Bill, 2000

The Equal Opportunity Act, No.69 of 2000

The Civil Service Act, Chapter 23:01

Paras.82-90

Not in report

Paras.95-97

Paras. 100-113
Not in Report

Para.74


Not in Report

Article 8



The Trade Unions Act, Chapter 88:02

The Industrial Relations Act, Chapter 88:01

Para 124, 125

Para.s.126, 131-133

Article 9


The Old Age Pensions Act, Chap. 32:02

The Public Assistance Act, Chap. 32:03

The Widows’ and Orphans’ Pensions Act,

Chapter 23:55

The Pensions Act, Chap. 23:52

The Workmen’s Compensation Act, Chap. 88:05

The National Insurance Act, Chap. 32:01

The Maternity Protection Act, No.4 of 1998

The Employment Injury and Disability Benefits Bill,

2001

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Act,



No.21 of 1999

Para. 136

Para.135

Para.144
Para. 138

Paras. 118-121

Paras. 92, 142-143

Para. 174
Not in Report
Not in Report

Article 10


The Maternity Protection Act, No. 4 of 1998


The Marriage Act, Chap. 45:01

The Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act,

Chap. 45:02

The Hindu Marriage Act, Chap. 45:03

The Orisa Marriage Act, No.22 of 1999
The Children Act, Chapter 46:01

The Children (Amendment) Act, No. 68 of 2000

The Children’s Authority Act, 64 of 2000

The Adoption of Children Act, 67 of 2000

The Children’s Community Residences,

Foster Homes and Nurseries Act, No. 65 of 2000

The Miscellaneous Provisions (Children) Act,

No. 66 of 2000

The Family Law (Guardianship of Minors,

Domicile and Maintenance) Act 1981, Chap. 46:08

The Legitimation Act, Chapter 46:01

The Family Court Bill, 2001


Para. 174


See ICCPR Report at

Paras.259-263 for

Marriage laws.

Para.177


Para.164(e)

Para.164(a)

Para. 164(b)
Para. 164(c)
Para. 164(d)
Para.157

Para. 158

Not in Report




Relevant Article

of the Covenant

Title of Domestic Legislation

Relevant paragraph

of the Report

Article 11



The Housing Act, Chap. 33:01

The State Lands (Regularisation of Tenure) Act,

No. 25 of 1998

The Municipal Corporations Act, No. 21 of 1990

The Socially Displaced Persons Act,

No. 59 of 2000

The Landlord and Tenant Act, No. 19 of 1981

Land Tenants(Security of Tenure)Act, Chapter 59:54

Rent Restriction Act(Chapter 59:50)

The Town and Country Planning Act, Chapter 35:01

Paras.186-189


Para.202

Para.206(c)(ii)


Para.212

Para.209


Not in Report

Not in Report



Article 12

The Regional Health Authorities Act,

No. 5 of 1994

The Public Health Ordinance, Chap. 12/4

of the Revised Laws, 1950

The Mental Health Act, Chap. 28:02

Public Health (Nursery Schools and Primary

Schools Immunisation) Act, Chap. 28:03

The Environmental Management Authority Act,

No. 3 of 2000

Para. 225


Para.223

Paras.226-228


Para.238
Para.261

Article 13


The Education Act, Chap. 39:01

The Students Revolving Loan Fund Act,

Chap. 39:05

The Teachers’ Pensions Act, Chapter 39:02

The Equal Opportunity Act, No.69 of 2000

College of Science, Technology and Applied

Arts of Trinidad and Tobago Act, No.77 of 2000


Paras.275-281
Para.285

Para.284


Para.74
Not in Report

Article 15

The National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago Act, No.11 of 1991

The Copyright Act, No. 8 of 1997

The National Institute of Higher Education (Research Science and Technology) Act 1984, Chap. 39:58

The Public Holidays and Festivals Act, Chapter 19:05

The National Carnival Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, Act No.9 of 1991

The Orisa Marriage Act, No. 22 of 1999

National Museum and Art Gallery Act,No.5 of 2000

The Miscellaneous Laws Act, No. 85 of 2000



Not in Report

Para.312
Para.314

Not in Report


Paras.309-310

Not in Report

Not in Report


There is no research available at the present time on case law with regard to the rights set forth in the Covenant resulting in the award of compensation of violations. Research is currently being undertaken by the Human Rights Unit in this regard.



2. Please indicate what specific measures the State party has taken to implement the Committee’s recommendations concerning its previous reports.
Statistical Data
In its Concluding observations, the Committee regretted that the report did not contain sufficient statistical data and did not give an idea of developments in the implementation of the Covenant during the period under consideration. An attempt has been made to address this concern of the Committee in the report under consideration which contains statistical data on the following:



Para.of the

Report


Statistical Data Provided


Para.64


Occupations by ethic group and gender (1998)


Para. 66


Unemployment rates by administrative area:1994-1998

Unemployment rates by ethnicity: 1994-1998

Unemployment rates by gender: 1994-1998

Youth unemployment rates: 1994-1998

Individuals working less than 33 hours as a result of not being

able to find Work:1994-1998


Para.75


No of people who hold more than one full time job

1994-1998


Para.91



Occupations by monthly income distribution (Public and Private Sector)(1998)


Para.92



Table of contribution payments (National Insurance).


Para.117



Industrial Injuries by Industry: 1992, 1994, 1996-1999.


Para.151


Expenditure as a percentage of the gross national product (1990 and 1999)


Para.165


Recognised de facto definitions of a family.


Para.166


Different types of assistance provided to families.


Para. 178


Inflation Rate (1999)


Para.196


Number of Persons Per Household (1990)


Para. 197



Information on Housing and Settlements (Census 1990)




Para.of the

Report


Statistical Data Provided


Para. 198


Households by size of household and number of rooms in dwelling unit(1990)


Para.199


Statistics on the water supply system to dwelling units and toilet facilities(1990)


Para.203


Initiatives taken to assist low income persons seeking shelter (1998)


Para. 225


Regional Health Authorities and number of health care facilities



Para. 239


Infants immunized against diphtheria, measles, polio and tuberculosis. (1998)


Para. 244


Death rates for the ten leading causes of death (1996)


Para. 253


Total primary health care expenditure as a percentage of the total health

expenditure (1987, 1992, 1997)


Para. 257


Immunisation coverage of vaccine preventable disease (1978, 1997)


Para. 263


Recurrent and capital expenditures in respect of health care as a percentage of

the gross national product


Para.289


Literacy rate in Trinidad and Tobago (1994)


Para.291


Actual recurrent and capital expenditures with respect to education (1990, 95, 99)



Para. 296


Number of graduates of the University of the West Indies in Trinidad for the

1998/1989 academic year to the 1996/1997 academic year.


Para.297


No of schools for children with disabilities


As stated in para. 21 of the Report under consideration, a Human Rights Unit was formed in July 1999 and this Unit was responsible for the preparation of the report under consideration. In the preparation of this report, the Unit obtained data from different Ministries of Government. Since the preparation of this report, a permanent standing inter ministerial Committee comprising representatives of some 13 Ministries of Government, including a representative of the Tobago House of Assembly, has been established. There is a representative of the Central Statistical Office on this Committee. This role of the Committee is to channel information to the Human Rights Unit, including statistical data, for preparation of periodic reports. It is anticipated that when future periodic reports are prepared, the Committee will greatly assist the Human Rights Unit in providing all the statistical data required by the United Nations guidelines for preparing the reports.

Lack of Balance in the Report
The comment on the general lack of balance in the reports was considered.
In December 1999, two members of staff of the Human Rights Unit participated in a course on “Human Rights Reporting: National Capacity Strengthening” conducted by the International Training Centre of the ILO in collaboration with the Ministry of the Attorney General in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Having received this training, the Unit was better able to understand the reporting process in general and the need for reports to comply with the United Nations Guidelines for reporting under the different international human rights instruments. The report under consideration demonstrates the Government’s desire to present a frank, detailed and honest report.
Although the report under consideration was prepared in accordance with the relevant guidelines, because the reports were long overdue, regrettably there was little time for consultation with nongovernmental organisations. In addition, when the Human Rights Unit prepared the report under consideration, there were several other periodic reports overdue under different United Nations human rights treaties to which Trinidad and Tobago is a party. The Human Rights Unit in a very short space of time has prepared and submitted all but one of the overdue periodic reports. It expects to complete its last outstanding report, due under the Convention on the Rights of the Child within the next two months. When this report is completed, Trinidad and Tobago will be fully up to date in respect of its reporting obligations under the different United Nations human rights instruments.
The Government appreciates the need to consult with nongovernmental organizations in the reporting process. As far as future periodic reports are concerned, the Unit will make every effort to ensure that consultations with non governmental organisations do take place and that the concerns of these NGOs are reflected in the reports. Since the preparation of the report under consideration, the Human Rights Unit has held brief consultations with representatives of non governmental organisations in respect of women, children’s rights and civil and political rights.


Poverty Threshold and Disadvantaged groups
As to the comment that national criteria be established to determine the poverty threshold and permit better identification of disadvantaged groups, information on this is contained in para.180 of the report under consideration.

In short, a Survey of Living Conditions was conducted by the Ministry of Planning and Development in 1992. That survey data was used by the Ministry of Social Development to undertake a study on poverty in 1996. As part of that study, entitled Determination and Measurement of Poverty, a poverty line was established. This poverty line was adjusted by the then Ministry of Social and Community Development when determining the basis for increases in Old Age Pension Grants. This threshold, together with other socio-economic indicators, such as access to clean water, education and health facilities etc. are used to identify the disadvantaged. The 1997 Survey of Living Conditions is currently being analysed by the Ministry of Planning and Development and plans are in train to conduct another survey in 2003. Information from these and other exercises planned or on the way will assist with establishing national criteria for determining/updating the poverty threshold.



Insufficient data on the right to strike

Some members of the Committee regretted that they had not been given sufficient information concerning the right to strike, and the immunity which persons exercising that right should have. In this regard, the report at para. 133 does make reference to this right, albeit not in great detail.



3. Please describe the position of the State party with regard to the preparation of an optional protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Since the rights contained in the Covenant are for the benefit of individuals, in principle affected individuals should be able to directly invoke the assistance of the relevant committee, which is charged with the protection of those rights. For that reason, Trinidad and Tobago will not oppose the preparation of an optional protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
It is recognised however that there may be mechanisms and instruments at the municipal, regional or hemispheric levels for the protection of the same rights. It is recognised, also, that there are significant bureaucratic costs associated with the administration of all human rights instruments, including the Covenant, and additional costs associated with the administration of any related optional protocol.
A determination as to whether Trinidad and Tobago will become a party to the an optional protocol to the Covenant would depend, on the one hand, on a careful weighing of the administrative costs involved and, on the other, the extent to which there already exist at the municipal, regional and hemispheric levels, avenues for redress for the violation of the rights contained in the Covenant.


B. Information and publicity
4. What specific measures has the State party taken to publicize the rights set forth in the Covenant? Specifically, what types of educational programmes are there for disseminating the scope of those rights?
The Government mandates the Government Information Service to produce and highlight inter alia programmes designed to promote respect, tolerance, an understanding of the cultural diversity of Trinidad and Tobago; equity among socially diverse groups and the opportunities available to all sectors of the population. During the period 1997-2000, the following programmes/initiatives were undertaken by the Government Information Service:

Re: Economic Rights:


  • Small business development aired on radio and television - A total of thirty (30) programmes.




  • Opportunities for women in business- radio and television: fifteen (15) programmes.




  • Funding access for youth agricultural programmes- radio and television: ten (10) programmes.




  • Fund Aid – focusing on development of small and micro enterprises- radio and television fifteen (15) programmes.




  • Housing opportunities through the Squatter Regularisation Programme- radio and television: twenty (20) programmes.




  • Financial Aid for persons with disabilities.




  • Annual presentation of the national budget in sign language for hearing impaired persons- Started in 1996.




  • Booklet focusing on financial opportunities in the National Budget for the elderly, youth, women and small business development.




  • Television and Radio programmes focusing on the introduction of minimum wage legislation- Twenty (20) programmes prepared for radio and television.




  • Discussion type programme between employers and employees and other experts-Twenty (20) programmes for radio and television.




  • A focus on the services of the Ministry of Labour as a place to seek redress- Fifteen (15) programmes prepared for radio and television.




  • Agricultural opportunities for aqua fish farming- Fifteen (15) programmes prepared for radio and television.



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