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Human Rights Council – Universal Periodic Review

For use of information media; not an official record

Date: Tuesday, 10 May 2011 (Morning)

Country under review: SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES
 
Documents: The national report A/HRC/WG.6/11/VCT/1;
Compilation of UN information A/HRC/WG.6/11/VCT/2;
Summary of stakeholders’ information A/HRC/WG.6/11/VCT/3;

Troika: Argentina, Malaysia, Norway

Concerned country - national report

- Represented by a 2 member delegation and headed by his Excellency Mr. Camillo M. Gonsalves, Permanent Representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the United Nations in New York.

Opening statement

- The development of human rights in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is shaped by a unique combination of historical, physical, political and socio-economic characteristics.
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a plural and fully participatory democracy.
- Freedom of expression and assembly is constitutionally protected and actively practiced.
- The Constitution protects the rights to life, personal liberty, the freedom of conscience and expression, assembly, association, and movement.
- Countries from the Caribbean Community lack the fiscal and human resources to fully and promptly comply with the often onerous reporting requirements imposed by many Treaties to which the Government is a party.
- Failures to meet some of the reporting requirements in a timely manner are a result of practical constraints, not an absence of political will.
- Human rights are inextricably linked to socio-economic development.
- The Government is aware that more needs to be done to improve the rights of disabled persons and people living with HIV/AIDS.
- An increase in tribalism and intolerance has resulted in the need to create a Ministry of National Reconciliation. 

Interactive discussion

Number of States taking part in the discussion
Member States: 17 Inscribed on the list: 33
Observer States: 16

Positive achievements

- Combating discrimination against persons with disabilities, and the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
- The protection of children’s rights and youth development, as evidenced by a range of social programmes.
- The National Poverty Reduction Strategy.
- Measures taken to address gender equality.
-The empowerment of women.
- Legislation combating domestic violence.
- HIV/AIDS prevention and control programme.
- The creation of a National Child Abuse Register.
- The creation of the Gender Affairs Department in 2001.
- Ratification of most of the core international human rights instruments.

Issues and questions raised

- Domestic violence goes unpunished in many instances.
- The Government continues to struggle in improving the socio-economic situation of its people.
- Protection of juveniles in the legal system.
- Improving prison conditions.
- Ensuring the rights of minorities.
- Legislative changes in a small developing country may be curtailed by capacity constraints.
- In 2002 the Committee on the Rights of the Child remained concerned that the age of criminal responsibility, fixed at 8 years of age, was too low.
- Reports of unwarranted police practice including the use of excessive force.
- What measures have been taken to improve food security?
- What measures have been taken to reduce corporal punishment?

Recommendations
 
- Adopt mandatory accessibility standards with respect to new and renovated construction, and to create inclusive education programmes for students with disabilities.
- Raise awareness regarding domestic violence, and encourage the police to follow-up on all domestic violence allegations.
- Repeal all provisions in the law which criminalize consensual sexual activity between adults.
- Ratify and implement the Second Optional Protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on abolition of the death penalty.
- Provide suitable and secure facilities for serious juvenile offenders.
- Bring legislation into conformity with the State’s commitment to equality and non-discrimination.
- Strengthen cooperation with human rights non-governmental organizations and other human rights mechanisms.
- Take appropriate steps to establish the Approved Schools as provided for in the Juvenile Act with the aim of separating juveniles from adult offenders in custody.
- Institute policies and initiatives to address discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Work with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a common core document as a way to streamline and reduce the burden of Treaty reporting.
- Establish a national human rights commission in line with the Paris Principles.
- Ratify the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.

Response of the concerned country

- The Government is currently drafting new legislation to strengthen the Domestic Violence Act.  - The police have been trained to be more sensitive to domestic-violence claims.
- The Government has strict child abuse laws.
- The Government has built a new correctional facility, and inmate transfers will occur in June of 2011.
- A street children rehabilitation project initiated in 2006 involved statistics and interviews with street children. A pilot project has been initiated to get children off the street.
- The Government has voted against a provision on a moratorium on the death penalty.
- The Government believes that economic development is the engine to human rights protection.
- The required referendum to establish a national human rights institution was not adopted.
- The Government intends to strengthen civil society.
- The Government rejects the charge of racial discrimination against rural children.
- A school-feeding programme provides meals for all students attending schools. Money provided for indigenous parents has increased.
- Policy initiatives to return mothers to school are regarded as a best practice by the UN.
- It would be a financial burden to extend a standing invitation to Special Procedures.
- The current legislation is effective against child pornography.
- The new correctional facility is for males only. Nevertheless, significant training is provided to respect the rights of women prisoners.
-The Government is responding to allegations of excessive use of force by the police services.
- The minimum age of criminal responsibility is 8 years of age. The judiciary remains flexible when adjudicating criminal responsibility for young offenders who fall just outside the minimum age.  
- Regarding HIV/AIDS, the rate of infection stabilized; countries that manufacture drugs should make them more affordable.
- Climate change is a significant threat. Natural disasters are more frequent, and have a devastating effect on development and human rights.
- Juvenile offenders are housed in a special holding area in police stations.
- Individuals should exhaust domestic remedies at home before submitting a complaint to an international tribunal. The Government has a robust and active judiciary capable of addressing individual complaints.
- The Government relies on banana production and export and is transitioning to a more tourist-based economy.

Adoption of the report by the UPR working group scheduled on
Friday 13 May, 3:00 p.m.

More information

Country under review (documents submitted): http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/PAGES/VCSession11.aspx
 

ADOPTION OF THE REPORT ON SINGAPORE

The Universal Periodic Review Working Group today also adopted, ad referendum, the report on Singapore (A/HRC/WG.6/11/L.9), following the review of that country on Friday, 6 May 2011.

The draft report includes 112 recommendations.  52 of them have already been examined and enjoy the support of Singapore; 39 will be further examined by Singapore which will provide responses in due time, but no later than the eighteenth session of the Human Rights Council in September 2011; 15 did not enjoy the support of Singapore; and 6 did not enjoy the support of Singapore as they were considered that they are based on incorrect assumptions of premises.

The report will be made available here: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/PAGES/SGSession11.aspx

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