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Striving for equality in the workplace

Since its establishment in 1919, the International Labour Organisation has sought to achieve equality between men and women at the workplace.

President of the Caribbean Court of Justice, Sir Dennis Bryon, made this observation today while delivering the keynote address at the ILO Subregional gender equality workshop for judges of the Caribbean at Hilton Barbados Hotel.

“It has regarded gender equality as a key component for women and men to obtain decent work in conditions of freedom and security and dignity. I will now repeat the strategic goals of the gender equality programme. Promoting and realising standards; creating opportunities for women and men for decent employment and income and strengthening social dialogue.

“The objective of this workshop seems to fall within the strategic goals of the gender equality programme. I think that providing professionals with knowledge that will enable them to use international labour law to enhance gender equality while delivering justice at national levels raises some interesting issues.

“Of course it raises the matter that there are not many cases coming before the courts, but some cases do come before the courts. I think that the most interesting issues is the fact that international law is applicable in the respective countries of the Commonwealth Caribbean. International law is just incorporated into national law. The act of ratifying international treaties immediately incorporates international law into national law,” Sir Dennis added.

He referred to the capital punishment case of Joseph and Boyce, who, having exhausted all of the legal channels in Barbados, applied to the Inter-American Court, but the Government of Barbados had indicated that it would not await the decision of the Inter-American because the law was not incorporated into Barbados’ laws.

In discussing this issue at the CCJ, attention was drawn to the fact that Barbados had entered into the treaty to benefit its citizens, therefore the CCJ decided that the provisions had to be applicable to the litigants. (NC)

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