No new human rights treaties will be signed by Barbados unless “resources permit”.
And those to which the island is already signatory will not be ratified unless Barbados “is in a position to meet all the obligations contained in the treaty, including reporting obligations”.
That’s what Barbados has officially communicated to the international community, following new recommendations from several countries for the country to sign or ratify several conventions and protocols.
The decision was made known this month in Barbados’ response to more than 100 recommendations made as part of a Universal Periodic Review of Barbados’ human rights record.
“Barbados cannot accept at this time the recommendation to sign new treaties. The Government will not commit to ratifying treaties unless it is in a position to meet all the obligations contained in the treaty, including reporting obligations. However, Barbados will continue to give consideration to signing new treaties as resources permit,” the island said in its official response.
The island’s Permanent Representative based Geneva, Dr. Marion Williams, also communicated this decision verbally to country and United Nations representatives two weeks ago.
“Several delegations also recommended that Barbados ratify a number of conventions. While taking note of these recommendations, it is important that we approach this issue in a pragmatic and realistic manner. As a matter of policy, Barbados will only sign and ratify treaties once a determination has been made that we can adhere to all the obligations and reporting commitments,” she said.
“As such, the Government of Barbados cannot … sign new treaties without undertaking a thorough assessment of the nature of the responsibilities associated with individual conventions.
“Barbados will however continue to give thoughtful consideration to signing and ratifying those treaties and optional protocols that are within the limits of our capacity and where the reporting obligations are not onerous,” Williams said in a prepared comment.
The diplomat said, however, that “despite the capacity constraints which we face, Barbados will nonetheless continue to take proactive steps to amend or prepare new pieces of legislation that could pave the way for ratification of some international treaties in the future and ensure that our laws are in full conformity with our human rights expectations and obligations”.
“In this vein, we are pleased to announced that Barbados has accepted the recommendation to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and following our review in January, the necessary instrument of ratification was deposited with the UN General Secretary in February 2013,” she said.
During the UPR process Chile had asked Barbados to “consider ratifying (the) Convention Against Torture And Other Cruel, Inhuman Or Degrading Punishment
Peru also advised the island to sign the International Convention On The Protection Of The Rights Of All Migrant Workers and the Protocol To Prevent, Suppress And Punish Trafficking In Persons Especially Women And Children, while France wanted Barbados to also ratify the International Convention For The Protection Of All Persons From Enforced Disappearance. (SC)