EU Ambassador urges Caribbean leaders to fight against the death penalty

EU Ambassador urges Caribbean leaders to fight against the death penalty
Ambassador Mikael Barfod
Ambassador Mikael Barfod
Ambassador Mikael Barfod

PRESS RELEASE – As we commemorate the European Day against the Death Penalty on October 10th, the abolition of the Death Penalty remains a key objective for the European Union’s human rights policy.

We are therefore pleased that there have been no executions in Barbados since 1984! The last execution in any of our countries was seven years ago (in St. Kitts and Nevis) and Grenada has not had an execution since 1978!

We are acutely aware that the Death Penalty remains on the books for Barbados and the Member States of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) for historical reasons.

However, changes are occurring. The mandatory Death Penalty was discontinued in the OECS countries due to the 2002 Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal ruling which deemed it unconstitutional. We congratulate Barbados on the initiative to also abolish the mandatory Death which is almost complete.

In line with this tendency and given the existence of a de-facto moratorium because of the length of time since an execution has been carried out, the next step should be taken: accepting a legal moratorium.

With the increase in crime, particularly murders, in recent times, there have been renewed calls for the Death Penalty. Despite the support that the use of the Death Penalty still receives in Caribbean communities, I challenge leaders to show more courage, launch a public debate and lead the way in the fight against the Death Penalty.

The EU sees the Death Penalty as cruel and inhumane, and scientific research has shown that the Death Penalty in no way acts as a deterrent to crime. Its abolition is essential for the protection of human dignity, as well as for the progressive development of human rights.

This is a moral issue about the value of human life. As a deeply religious Caribbean society this is one of the basic tenets that as a community we hold dear. Sentiments such as ‘it is cheaper to kill them than to keep them in prison’ have no place in this era of civilization.

There is a worldwide movement against the Death Penalty and even here in the Caribbean it was abolished in Suriname – your fellow CARICOM Member State – in March of this year! In the region, Haiti and the Dominican Republic have also abolished capital punishment. The historic milestone of over 100 death penalty free countries has been achieved!

The international outcry against the Death Penalty is also well present in the United Nations (UN) framework of which we are all apart. In 2007 the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution establishing a moratorium on executions with the goal of abolishing the death penalty, and every other year such a resolution is put to vote.

I take this opportunity to urge your leaders to vote in favour of such a moratorium or at least to abstain, instead of voting against it, reflecting the situation of no executions on the ground for almost ten years!

For those who may yet be not convinced, I make a call for a debate between the stakeholders, including the church and the legal fraternity. Let us put the facts to the test and come up with a position based on principles and not on emotions and historical customs. The EU remains strongly committed to this fight.

Mikael Barfod is the EU Ambassador to the Eastern Caribbean countries, OECS, CARICOM and CARIFORUM.


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  1. Please listen to this song by pep titled,victims story and you will change your mind ambassador.


  2. Ambassador Barford - please keep your comments for the countries that abuse human rights. Why don't you go preach this to Obama and the USA. There are so many racial issues to speak out against why are you wasting your breath on death penalty in little minute St.Lucia. The same country that YOU will black list because of escalation in crime. We do not want any one to come into our country and tell us what to do! You solve the issues in your country and then go to the USA after you clean up that mess then come back to us!


  3. whats good for his country is not automatically good for another country.
    Every country have to decide on their own what will be necessary and work.
    Hanging criminals will not stop criminals but they will know what is the ultimate price for killing other people.
    With our crime situation we should implement capital punishments.


  4. We are not Europeans. We are never going to be Europeans. England literally KICKED Saint Lucia out of its cultural system. So diplomatically speaking, WHAT IS THERE IN IT FOR US? Do you know?


    • He wants to use it as leverage to depend on dripping and let the mal-adjusted, mentally ill, uneducated, jobless, roam the streets and rob, maim and kill the few tourists that spend miserly in our country, to stop coming altogether. Please sir, is that the true depth and extent of your extremely skewed ethnocentric EU logic sir? Does it more than ever before appear to you that you really need your head examined, sir?


  5. It is estimated that within 10 yrs there will be somewhere about 100 released
    prisoners that have served their time, walking the streets as free men/women.
    Go figure.


  6. Idiots like him are what breeds the environment for criminals to develop. Encouraging leaderes elected by the people to backstab the people


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