Gov’t urged to respect Int’l laws regarding death penalty

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Minister of Governance, Raphael Trotman and EU Ambassador, Jernej Videtic. [Javin Singh Photo]
Minister of Governance, Raphael Trotman and EU Ambassador, Jernej Videtic. [Javin Singh Photo]
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Government of Guyana and others in the Caribbean are being urged to respect international laws relative to the infliction of capital punishment.

This was among the recommendations that came out of a forum organized by the European Union and the International Commission against the Death Penalty at the Arthur Chung Convention Center.

A release from the local EU Office stated that the conference made several conclusions and recommendations on the death penalty.

Governments in the Caribbean are being urged to “formalize the unofficial moratorium of the death penalty in countries in the Caribbean region that retain capital punishment; and respect international and regional human rights law and standards relating to the death penalty.”

From left is Derek Lambe, Fernando Ponz, Rajiv Narayan, Dr Asunta Vivo Cavaller, Lord Navnit Dholakia and EU Ambassador Jernej Videtic. [Javin Singh Photo]
From left is Derek Lambe, Fernando Ponz, Rajiv Narayan, Dr Asunta Vivo Cavaller, Lord Navnit Dholakia and EU Ambassador Jernej Videtic. [Javin Singh Photo]
There are also recommendations for there to be public engagement and constructive dialogue with governments in the Caribbean region as they take steps towards eventual abolition of the death penalty.

“Strengthening justice system structures, including ensuring that it is sufficiently resources, that it has the capacity of effectively investigating crimes, ensuring that victims are supported, ensuring adequate legal assistance to vulnerable sections of society.”

“There have been and always will be cases of executions of innocent people. No matter how developed a justice system is, it will always remain susceptible to human failure. Unlike prison sentences, the death penalty is irreversible and irreparable,” the release noted.

It was also stated that the death penalty is often used in a disproportional manner against the poor, minorities and members of racial, ethnic, political and religious groups.

“The death penalty violates the right to life, which happens to be the most basic of all human rights. It also violates the right not to be subjected to torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment. Furthermore, the death penalty undermines human dignity, which is inherent to every human being.”

“Public support for the death penalty does not necessarily mean that taking away the life of a human being by the state is right. There are undisputed historical precedents where gross human rights violations had had the support of a majority of the people, but which were later condemned.”

The release argued that “it is the job of leading figures and politicians to underline the incompatibility of capital punishment with human rights and human dignity. It needs to be pointed out that public support for the death penalty is inextricably linked to the desire of the people to be free from crime. However, there exist more effective ways to prevent crime.”

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