Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF

Thursday, 1 May 2014 (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

Dominica
Represented by a delegation headed by Mr. Vince HENDERSON, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Commonwealth of Dominica to the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

Documents

To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit the Dominica page on the UPR website.

Troika *

Germany, Mexico and Sierra Leone.

Opening statement by State under review

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

  • Over the past 14 years there have been major strides in access to an delivery of quality education, healthcare, social services, protection of the rights of persons with disabilities, support to indigenous people, women and the elderly ;
  • Dominica has made significant strides in the protection of women and children.  In May 2013 the State ratified the Protocol to Prevent, Supress and Punish Trafficking in Person, Especially Women and Children;
  • In 2006, the Government adopted a National Gender Policy to provide a framework for achieving gender equity and equity in every facet of Dominican society.  A National Strategic Plan on Gender-based Violence has also be prepared and will soon be submitted for consideration and approval;
  • Workshops and seminars have been held with Police and community leaders to better understand the problem of violence against women and children and to provide assistance to victims;
  • Per the Education Act of 1997, corporal punishment may be administered where no other punishment was considered suitable or effective and in a manner which was in conformity with the guideline issues in writing by the Chief Education Officer;
  • In Dominica there has been a self-imposed moratorium on the use of the death penalty since 1986.  The current law on the death penalty was based  on the 2003 ruling of the Privy Council of England;
  • Since 2000, the Government of Dominica has placed special emphasis on the island’s indigenous people – the Caribs.  A Ministry of Carib Affairs was created, headed by the Member of Parliament for the Carib Territory to facilitate the delivery of government services, programmes and projects;
  • Dominican women have been serving in Parliament for more than 60 years and have served as Prime Minister, ministers, Attorney General and Speaker of the House of Assembly.  Currently, there are two elected and one nominated woman serving in the parliament;
  • The Government of Dominica was not prepared to introduce to the Parliament any legislation to decriminalize sexual relations between adults of the same sex.  Extrajudicial killings based on race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation did not exist in Dominica;
  • Since the establishment of the National HIV/AIDS Prevention Unit in the Ministry of Health in 2003, there have been a number of programmes geared at creating greater awareness, care, understanding and tolerance for those affected and infected by the disease;
  • The Government ratified the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities in October 2012 and was establishing a special commission to ensure that the government could meet its commitments under the convention;
  • While noting his Government’s’ limited resources to meet its human rights commitments, the head of delegation called on OHCHR to provide support to Dominica in order to meet its human rights obligations.

Participants

In total 48 States participated in the dialogue:  25 HRC members and 23 observers  (Statements available on Dominica page on the UPR Extranet **).

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • Efforts to combat domestic violence and violence against women and children;  
  • The National Policy and Action Plan for Gender Equality and Equity and efforts to empower women; 
  • The ratification of the Protocol to Prevent, Supress and Punish Trafficking in Persons;
  • Steps to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities and the ratification of the CRPD;
  • Progress in the health and education sector and provision of free primary and secondary education;
  • The extension of a standing invitation to the UN Special Procedures.

Issues and Questions

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

  • Efforts to eliminate violence against women and gender-based violence;
  • Steps undertaken to promote and protect the rights of the child;
  • Plans to repeal legislation discriminating against persons on the grounds of their sexual orientation;
  • Measures to uphold the right to education for all, in particular persons with disabilities;
  • The State’s position on the death penalty;
  • Assistance from OHCHR to Dominica to meet its human rights obligations.

Recommendations

States participating in the dialogue posed a series of recommendations to Dominica.  These pertained to the following issues, among others

  • To continue efforts to eliminate violence against women and gender-based violence and to ensure compliance with international obligations in that regard; To report on active policies to protect the rights of women and date on gender-based violence; To ensure relevant agencies had sufficient resources and staff to enforce existing domestic violence laws;
  • To pursue efforts to protect the rights of the child and establish a comprehensive child protection policy and a comprehensive list of hazardous work prohibited to children and amend laws to raise the minimum age for employment to at least 15; 
  • To prohibit sentences of corporal punishment for children and life imprisonment under the age of 14 without exception;
  • To establish anti-discrimination laws and regulations ensuring that LGBT persons and other vulnerable groups enjoyed equal treatment; To repeal all provisions that discriminated against persons on the grounds of their sexual orientation including those in the Sexual Offences Act;
  • To take further steps to protect the rights of persons with disabilities;
  • To adopt measures to allow for better integrate of the Kalinago/Carib community;
  • To continue efforts to promote and protect the full enjoyment of the right to education for all, in particular children with disabilities and migrant children; To promote measures to eliminate discrimination against disabled persons in the education system;
  • To maintain a de facto moratorium on executions and consider abolishing the death penalty;
  • To decriminalise defamation and place it under the civil code in accordance with international standards; 
  • To continue efforts to combat HIV/AIDS and address the needs of those living with HIV/AIDS;
  • To consider establishing a national human rights institution in compliance with the Paris Principles; For OHCHR to provide technical assistance to Dominica for the establishment of a national human rights institution and to advance human rights policies and programmes;
  • Ratification of human rights instruments: The 1st and 2nd OPs to the ICCPR, the OP to the ICESCR, the CAT and OPCAT, the OP to CEDAW, the CERD, the Convention on enforced disappearances, the 3rd OP to the CRC, the Convention on the rights of migrant workers, ILO Convention 189 (domestic workers), and ILO Convention 182 (worst forms of child labour),  and the Convention on the Prevention of the Crime of Genocide.

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on Dominica is scheduled to take place on Thursday, 6 May 2014.

*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

Media contacts: 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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