Photo 8 - Mrs. Barrow & Mrs. Tucker-Long

Commonwealth Group of Experts

Champions of Legislative Reform

As a devoted human rights advocate, Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow works to change systems and conditions that violate human rights.

 

Over the past decade she has worked to improve laws, and by extension, lives. She is a voice for victims of human rights violations and injustice. She believes that everyone has the power and responsibility to advance human rights, and as such, has developed partnerships and mobilized people both nationally and internationally to address some of the most pressing issues of our time.

Since 2008, Mrs. Simplis Barrow has worked to address violations of women's and children’s rights, including but not limited to:
 

  • Gender-based violence;

  • Rape;

  • Discrimination;

  • Sexual harassment

  • Trafficking in women and girls

  • Child exploitation

In 2018, she became a member of the Commonwealth Group of Experts. As a member, she is a part of a group comprised of experienced policymakers, legislators, lawyers, academics, legislative drafters and champions of legislative reform from across the Commonwealth who provide their insight and expertise to ongoing efforts to reform laws that discriminate against women, girls, LGBT people and other marginalized groups.

 

Since becoming a member, she has advised on the practicalities and processes of championing legislative reform, drawing on her extensive experience as part of a team of senior figures who drove changes to the Sexual Offences Act in Belize. In 2018, she took part in a series of meetings in London, where she met with diplomats, legal academics, practitioners, and civil society leaders to brief them on Belize’s reform process and the lessons that could be learnt by others looking to replicate Belize’s success. This included delivering the keynote speech at a reception for members of the diplomatic community, where she spoke on the need for ambitious and progressive reforms.

 

Mrs. Barrow shared the Belizean experience of reform with other members of the Commonwealth Group of Experts, including experts based in Australia, Canada, Northern Cyprus, Fiji, Kenya, Palau, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the United Kingdom, at meetings convened in Singapore (2019) and in Belize (2019). In Singapore, this included joining a delegation of experts who met with the Singaporean Minister of Justice and his senior team to discuss the reform of sexual offence legislation. 

 

On behalf of the Commonwealth Group of Experts, she addressed the third Global Convening on the Decriminalisation of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity held in Barbados in 2019, with a gathering of more than 100 parliamentarians, lawyers and civil society leaders who are working around the world to help eradicate laws that criminalise LGBT people. 

In 2020, she addressed the Annual Forum of the Equality & Justice Alliance, a two-year programme supporting legislative reform in the Commonwealth. Via video link, she spoke to assembled policymakers, technical experts and members of civil society on Belize’s historic sexual offences reforms and the subsequent efforts to introduce Equal Opportunities and Hate Crimes Legislation in Belize. 

The Commonwealth Group of Experts works with international partners such as the Human Dignity Trust, which share information and resources to support legislative reform work in Belize and beyond.