Australia’ Special Envoy for Human Rights

Australia’s Special Envoy for Human Rights Meets with Belize’s Ombudsman

Today, the Honorable Philip Ruddock, Australia’s Special Envoy for Human Rights, met with the Honorable Lionel Arzu, Belize’s Ombudsman, in Belmopan City. His Excellency John Pilbeam, Australia’s High Commissioner to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, and Ms. Sarah Roberts, Director, Australian Department, Human Rights Branch, accompanied the Australian Special Envoy. Ms. Rubiceli Perera, Legal Officer, accompanied Belize’s Ombudsman.

Mr. Ruddock met with Mr. Arzu to lend support to the Ombudsman’s role as a guardian of the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed in the Belize Constitution. Mr. Arzu, as Ombudsman, has helped to promote and protect human rights in Belize by investigating complaints of wrongdoing, violation of constitutional rights and freedoms and injustice. Mr. Ruddock, who became Australia’s First Special Envoy for Human Rights in February 2016, was also a Member of Australian Parliament from 1973 to 2016. As a Parliamentarian, and like his Belizean Colleague, Mr. Ruddock has supported interest groups and participated on committees dealing with aboriginal affairs, human rights and abolition of the death penalty, and had ministerial responsibilities that enabled him to pursue human rights issues with members of the Australian Parliament, the diplomatic corps and international counterparts.

Mr. Ruddock is also seeking support for his Australia’s candidacy in the United Nations Human Rights Council. The Council is an inter-governmental body made up of 47 States responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights globally. Australia is a member of the Asia-Pacific States, which occupy thirteen seats on the Council. The General Assembly takes into account the candidate States’ contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights, as well as their voluntary pledges and commitments in this regard. Mr. Ruddock, who also met with Honorable Wilfred Elrington, Belize’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, and other Belizean officials during his tour. left Belize today after his meeting with Mr. Arzu to visit other Latin American countries.

The Ombudsman of Belize is honored and pleased to have met the Special Envoy for Human Rights and his team, to have benefited from their support and guidance regarding human rights and to have reciprocated their support.