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UNICEF denounces bias in social services 

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called for an end to discrimination in the allocation of social services in the territory, adding that expats should have equal access to such services because they too pay taxes and social security.

In its 2016 report tabled in the House of Assembly a few days ago, UNICEF stated that the way in which social services are are made available is central to the inequalities being faced in the British Virgin Islands.

“Central to the inequities identified in the territory is the difference in how services are made available to belongers, residents, and non-belongers. In the context of human rights, lack of resources does not justify the availability of social benefits for some groups and not others.”

“Those who have legal non-belonger status contribute their labour and knowledge, as well as paying taxes and social security. Making social assistance universal for all who need it will not attract illegal residents or increase the number of non-belongers seeking jobs since the Government controls the work permit process,” added UNICEF.

The international organization, in the meantime, lauded the health sector for setting a precedent for other sectors to follow.

“The health sector took a first step to close the gap between populations by amending legislation to allow equal access to health for all. It is not yet clear if this will set a precedent in the provision of other social services,” UNICEF further said in its report – Situation Analysis of Children in the British Virgin Islands.

It further told the territory to ‘update legislation to eliminate the gap in access of services between belongers and non-belongers”.

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