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Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF


Friday, 25 January 2013 (Morning)

 

(Disclaimer: The following brief is intended for use of the information media and is not an official record.  The note provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review and does not cover all points addressed.  An official summary of the meeting can be found in the Working Group report.)

State under review

Barbados
Represented by seven-member delegation headed by R. Orlando Marville, Senator

Documents

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

Troika *

Libya, Brazil, Spain

Opening statement by State under review

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

  • While noting that the population of Barbados had a population of 270,000, the head of delegation noted that as a small State the Government had to deal with challenges that confronted small States;
  • Barbados had a long tradition of democracy and respect for the rule of law and remained committed to the promotion and protection of human rights as well as the respect of the human dignity of all persons; these priorities were reflected in the outlay that the country made on education, social services and on social security;
  • The Cabinet of Barbados established the Governance Advisory Board in 2008, half of whose members were women; Barbados was committed to advancing women’s rights; in 2012, Barbados appointed its first female President of the Senate, who was visually impaired;
  • Barbados continued to implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Cabinet agreed to its ratification once all legal requirements were in place;
  • The Government continued to develop and execute programmes that were aimed at eliminating the stigmatisation of persons living with HIV/AIDS and decided to decentralise and integrate HIV prevention and care services into the Primary Health Care system;
  • Barbados had legislation that criminalized trafficking in persons, including children and was taking steps to implement the Palermo Protocol; over the last year, a number of public education programmes were launched to raise public awareness about this global problem;
  • Barbados has taken steps in transforming the scope of the Office of the Ombudsman to include the responsibility for the promotion and protection of human rights;
  • The Government was firmly committed to pursuing a zero tolerance policy for all forms of violence against women; a committee was established by the Bureau of Gender Affairs to review the existing Domestic Violence Protection Orders Act, and, among other steps, the Bureau pursued public education to reduce domestic violence and other related acts;
  • On the issue of the death penalty, the Government noted that there did not appear to be national consensus or bipartisan support for the abolition of capital punishment, however there have been no executions in Barbados since 1984;
  • On the issue of corporal punishment, with the assistance of UNICEF, the Government has implemented the Schools Positive Behaviour Management Programme, which aimed to facilitate the development and use of positive behaviour management strategies, thereby eliminating the need to resort to corporal punishment;
  • The Police remained committed to the principles of integrity and accountability of law enforcement personnel and the behaviour of officers was governed by the Instructional Manual, especially as it related to the use of force;
  • In conclusion, the head of delegation noted that Barbados will not ratify treaties unless it was in a position to meet all of the obligations that attended thereto.

Participants

In total 44 States participated in the dialogue:  19 HRC members and 25 observers  (Statements available on the Barbados page on UPR Extranet)

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • The national strategic Plan for HIV Prevention and Control and efforts to combat HIV/AIDS;
  • Progress achieved in the area of the promotion and protection of child rights;
  • The establishment of national polices to uphold the rights of older persons;
  • Measures undertaken to combat poverty, in particular the I.S.E.E. Bridge programme;
  • The high Human Development Index rating and high literacy rate;
  • Efforts undertaken to combat all forms of human trafficking.

Issues and Questions

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

  • Steps envisaged to impose a moratorium on the death penalty;
  • Measures to address alleged human rights violations by the Police Force;
  • Efforts undertaken to decriminalize consensual same-sex relations;
  • Plans to further address cases of domestic and gender-based violence;
  • Steps to completely prohibit the practice of corporal punishment;
  • The Office of the Ombudsman and plans to establish a NHRI in compliance with the Paris Principles.

Recommendations

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

  • To consider a complete moratorium on the death penalty and to take action to promote and increase the opportunities for the public and open debates on the death penalty;
  • To investigate all complaints made against the Police Force; to review human rights training for police and security forces;
  • To decriminalize consensual same-sex conduct and take all necessary steps to protect LGBT community form all forms of discrimination and to repeal laws that criminalized same sex relations;
  • To establish polices and initiatives to address discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation to gender identity; to provide human rights education, including that related to sexual orientation and gender identity, to all law enforcement officials;
  • To establish a mechanism to collect data on incidents of domestic violence; to form special police units with female officers to handle domestic violence cases; to implement recommendations made by the national reform committee tasked with reviewing the Domestic Violence Protections Act;
  • Repeal provisions allowing for and completely prohibit the practice of corporal punishment;
  • To establish a national plan of action to prevent sexual violence against women and children; to accelerate the adoption of the Employment Sexual Harassment Bill;
  • Amend the 2011 Transnational Crime Bill to prohibit all forms of human trafficking;
  • To ensure national women were able to confer their nationality to their children born abroad,
  • To extend a standing invitation to UN Special Procedures;
  • To ensure the Office of the Ombudsman was brought in line with the Paris Principles; to establish a national human rights institution in compliance with the Paris Principles;
  • Ratification of human rights instruments: The Convention on enforced disappearances, the CRPD, the three OPS to the CRC, the CAT and the OPCAT, the 2nd OP to the ICCPR, ILO Convention 189 (domestic workers), the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the ICC, the OP to the CEDAW, the CRMW, and the Palermo Protocol on human trafficking. 

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on Barbados is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, 29 January 2013

  • 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. 

Media contact: Rolando Gómez, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9711, rgomez@ohchr.org

 

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