Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF

Wednesday, 11 November 2015 (Morning)

(Disclaimer: The following brief is not an official record, provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review, and does not cover all points addressed)

State under review

Saint Kitts and Nevis
Represented by three-member delegation headed by Ms. Kaye Bass, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Aviation

Documents

To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit
the  Saint Kitts and Nevis page on the UPR webpage

Troika *

Gabon, Mexico and Saudi Arabia

Opening statement by State under review

Few points raised in the opening statement of State under review:
(See full statement on Saint Kitts and Nevis page on UPR Extranet **)

  • After the first UPR of St Kitts and Nevis in 2011, the country continued to face significant challenges due to the world financial crisis leading to a reduction in income and high public sector debt-to-GDP ratio for which fiscal measures were put in place to generate more resources for social safety net initiatives;
  • Since the first UPR, general elections were held in St Kitts and Nevis on 16 February 2015 ushering in a new administration;
  • A few months after the first UPR, the Government, in partnership with the World Bank, UNICEF and UN Women, launched national consultations on the National Social Protection Strategy, Plan of Action and Monitoring and Evaluation Framework;
  • St Kitts and Nevis has adopted a series of legislative measures to address child protection. These included: Guardianship, Custody and Access to Children Act of 2012, Maintenance of Children Act of 2012, Child Justice Act of 2013 and Status of Children Amendment of 2013;
  • The Domestic Violence Act of 2014 classified sexual violence, rape and incest as serious offences, provided greater protection for victims of domestic violence, established appropriate penalties for perpetrators and aimed to combat discrimination, as well as violence against women and children;
  • There was no formal or positive legal discrimination against persons in St Kitts and Nevis based on sexual orientation of gender identity and no laws existed which prohibited such forms of discrimination;
  • St Kitts and Nevis has not imposed the death penalty for several years and only three persons have been executed within the last 30 years, and none in almost seven years;
  • The Parliament passed the Police Complaints Act in 2014 which provided for the receipt, investigation and determination of complaints by the public against the police and for related matters;
  • In July 2015, the Police unveiled its Crime Action Plan to enhance public safety which stressed crime prevention, intelligence-led policing, targeted operations, collaboration with agencies, engagement of stakeholders and improvement in administration;
  • The Government was reviewing criminal justice procedures to reduce the length of detention without trial and aimed to reduce the backlog of criminal cases;
  • The State was continuing to adopt measures to put an end to corporal punishment. The Ministry of Education adopted the UNICEF Effective Child Friendly Schools framework which did not allow for the use of corporal punishment in schools;
  • In closing, the head of delegation noted that her Government extended an invitation to the regional UN Office for an in-country engagements and consultation with all necessary parties immediately after its UPR to consider options to establish a national human rights institution.

Participants

In total 48 States participated in the dialogue: 23 HRC members and 25 observers  (Statements available on on Saint Kitts and Nevis page on UPR Extranet )

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • The legislative reforms and programmes directed at increased social protection and poverty reduction, improving the standard of living of citizens;
  • Efforts undertaken to protect women and girls from domestic violence, such as the adoption of the Domestic Violence Act 2014 and the establishment of a Special Victims Unit within the Police Force;
  • Efforts made to strengthen child protection systems;
  • Efforts made in the education sector, such as the adoption of the White Paper on Education Development and Policy 2009 - 2019;
  • The adoption of the National Social Protection Strategy Plan of Action 2013 – 2017;
  • Steps taken to support the freedom of expression and association.

Issues and Questions

Issues and questions raised by the Working Group included, among others:

  • Ratification of core human rights conventions and the lack of cooperation with UN Treaty bodies;
  • Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation;
  • The death penalty;
  • Child rights;
  • Domestic violence;
  • The criminalization of consensual same-sex activity between men.

Recommendations

States participating in the dialogue posed a series of recommendations to Saint Kitts and Nevis.  These pertained to the following issues, among others

  • To address discrimination against LGBT persons and repeal all legislation which discriminates against them;
  • To establish a moratorium on the use of the death penalty with a view to its abolition;
  • To decriminalize same-sex consensual relations;
  • To take legal and practical steps to protect women and children from domestic violence and to speedily enact the Domestic Violence Bill;
  • To take additional measures to address gender-based discrimination and develop a national gender policy;
  • To take active measures to abolish corporal punishment of children in all settings;
  • To bring the office of the Ombudsman in compliance with the Paris Principles;
  • To promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights by persons with disabilities;
  • To criminalize marital rape;
  • To create a formal health policy and improve access to reliable and affordable health services;
  • To develop national legal frameworks to provide refugees with international protection;
  • Ratification of human rights instruments: the Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on children in armed conflict and on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography; the Convention against Torture and its Optional Protocol;  the Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities; the UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its Optional Protocols, the International covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the Kampala amendments to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court; and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report -recommendations section- of the UPR Working Group on Saint Kitts and Nevis is scheduled to take place on Friday, 13 November 2015

*The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR.

** For access to the UPR Extranet, please fill out the following form to receive a username and password

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Rolando Gómez, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9711,
rgomez@ohchr.org
Cédric Sapey, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9695, csapey@ohchr.org  

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