Don't judge us on death penalty, AG says
An Attorney General from one regional country tells his Commonwealth colleagues not to judge the Caribbean's compliance with human right obligations on its death penalty stance.
SYDNEY, Australia, Monday July 18, 2011 - Trinidad and Tobago's Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, outlining the Caribbean’s position on the contentious issue of the death penalty to Commonwealth counterparts, has insisted that a country's legal position on capital punishment should not be a barometer to gauge its compliance with human rights obligations.
He contended that it is "a simplistic approach to a complex problem as the notion of human rights should not be reduced or judged by reference to its position on the death penalty."
"In any event, there was not any international consensus on the relationship or consequences of the implementation of the death penalty (which is reserved for the most heinous crimes) and its respect for human rights,” Ramlogan said after a comprehensive report from the Human Right Unit was presented at the recent
Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting.
Ramlogan said that a disproportionate amount of time and resources were spent on the death penalty issue.
His contribution ignited a strong debate with strong support coming from Singapore, Malaysia, Mauritius and several countries from the African continent.
During the sessions, Ramlogan also raised the issue of the rising HIV and AIDS rate among Member States and asked that the Commonwealth Secretariat focus on this critical issue at its next meeting which will be held in Botswana in 2014.
Global issues such as climate change and its impact on security and survival, cybercrime, overcrowding in correctional facilities, the modalities for civil society engagement, and issues of international family justice and the need for collaboration among Member States to protect the lives and welfare of innocent children were also discussed.
The Meeting had as its theme “Fostering a Just and Secure Commonwealth”.