SVG-UN

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Defends Right of States to Determine Position on the Death Penalty

NEW YORK, NY, November 20, 2008: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines' Permanent Representative to the United Nations opposed efforts to impose an international moratorium on the use of the death penalty, arguing that each country has the right to responsibly decide whether to utilise capital punishment in thier local context.

A draft resolution, entitled "Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty," was considered by the United Nations' Third Committee as a human rights issue. While enjoying majority support, a significant majority of States that retain capital punishment as part of their criminal codes. These States, which included many CARICOM countries, Singapore, India, China, the United States of America and others, voted against the resolution. The States opposing the motion argued that it did not reflect international consensus, and did not take into consideration efforts to add balance to the resolution.

Ambassador Camillo Gonsalves of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, in a statement explaining his country's vote against the resolution, pointed out that the Vincentian Constitution allowed for the imposition of the death penalty, and the the legality and constitutionality of capital punishment had been affirmed by the highest judicial authorities.

"It seems to us, therefore, a peculiar expression of cultural, political and legal insensitivity for our dear friends and colleagues who support this text to foist upon the people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines a resolution that seeks to undercut carefully considered legal precedent, political will and the desire of our citizens," said Ambassador Gonsalves. "The resolution demonstrates scant regard for the UN Charter, or the sovereign right of States to manage their domestic legal affairs."

After reiterating that "Saint Vincent and the Grenadines takes no issue with those states that have abolished or mothballed the death penalty in their local settings," Ambassador Gonsalves asserted that "each State must come to a decision on the death penalty on its own, without the interference of well-meaning but misguided outsiders."

"[W]e demand respect for our sovereign right to responsibly apply the death penalty, if our population so desires and chooses, within the confines of our legal, ethical and constitutional obligations," said Ambassador Gonsalves.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines statement explaining the vote against the Death Penalty resolution is: HERE