SVG praised for progress in Human Rights
May 17, 2011
SVG praised for progress in Human Rights

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has given St Vincent and the Grenadines kudos for its progress in the fields of human rights and national development, but has made recommendations for other improvements, some of which this country has resisted.{{more}}

The country’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Camillo Gonsalves, said in a statement on Sunday that of 92 recommendations which the UNHRC made for national action and consideration, 17 which dealt mainly with the death penalty and laws relating to buggery, were not accepted by the Government.

He said he had told the Council that St. Vincent and the Grenadines could immediately accept 49 other recommendations, many of which were already being implemented by the government, while the other 26 recommendations would require further study by the government and wider consultation with the public before a response could be given.

This followed a Universal Periodic Review process in which St. Vincent and the Grenadines participated last week.

In a rigorous, two-hour question-and-answer session between Ambassador Gonsalves and the members of the UNHRC, 33 countries asked questions and made recommendations.

Responding to questions on the death penalty, Ambassador Gonsalves explained that recent judicial decisions made it extremely difficult for executions to take place in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, where the death penalty has not been applied in over 15 years. He later asserted that a majority of the world’s peoples still live in countries that impose capital punishment.

A number of countries also called on the country to repeal all laws that criminalise sexual activities between consenting adults. However, Ambassador Gonsalves said there was no public or legislative appetite to revise any of the laws that prohibit incest, prostitution, buggery and other sex acts that could involve consenting adults.

Meantime, he said that St. Vincent and the Grenadines was widely praised for its progress in education, housing, health and development by members of the Council, many of whom urged the government to continue its good work in the interest of Vincentians.

Countries also asked the government to strengthen its protections of the disabled, juveniles, and victims of domestic violence.

The Universal Periodic Review provides an opportunity for all countries to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to overcome challenges to the enjoyment of human rights.

The countries are evaluated based on a National Report provided by their government, as well as on information from the reports of independent human rights experts and groups, human rights treaty bodies, and Non-Governmental Organisations. (Caribbean360) (see pages 14 and 15 for the full text of Ambassador Gonsalves’ presentation).