Advocacy statements

Statement on Barbados’s Universal Periodic Review

  • Date / 2023
  • Location / Barbados
  • Relevant Institution / UN Human Rights Council
  • UN Item / Universal Periodic Review


Humanists International

54th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (11 September to 13 October 2023)

UPR Outcome of Barbados

Delivered by Maachelle Farley

Mr President,

I make this statement on behalf of Humanists International and Humanists Barbados.

We thank the delegation of Barbados for its presentation. At the time of recording this statement, no report on the State’s views on conclusions and recommendations had been published.

We welcome the recent elimination of the mandatory death penalty in Barbados, but deeply regret that it remains a sentencing option. Accordingly, we urge Barbados to accept the recommendations on ratifying the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, and the move toward legal abolition of the death penalty.

The cultural norms which support corporal punishment for children must be consciously eroded by continuously educating the population on the negative impact of such punishment. We call on the Government to expand its training of school staff in alternative forms of punishment.[1]

We welcome the progress of Barbados on LGBTI+ inclusion. Eliminating buggery laws in 2022 was an essential step, but the Government must work to destigmatize sexual and gender minorities. We hope to see legislation to prohibit discrimination based on sexual and gender identity, especially in employment.

Discrimination and violence against women in Barbados is a significant cause for concern. Women currently earn over 10% less than men,[2] whilst 68% of women in Barbados have reported interpersonal violence.[3] Furthermore, over 60 in 100,000 women report sexual violence annually – a number which is likely much lower than the reality, and yet still above the worldwide average.[4] To that end we urge Barbados to accept the multiple provisions on efforts to combat violence against women and promote gender equality, including in pay.

Thank you.


[1] National report submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolutions 5/1 and 16/21*,              A/HRC/WG.6/43/BRB/1, 85

[2] Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review* Barbados, A/HRC/54/13, 71

[3] E Le Franc, M Samms-Vaughan, I Hambleton, K Fox, D Brown, ‘Interpersonal violence in three Caribbean countries: Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago’ Pan Am J Public Health 2008: 24(6) 409-21

[4] UNODC – Sexual Violence: https://dataunodc.un.org/data/crime/sexual-violence


Suggested academic reference

'Statement on Barbados's Universal Periodic Review', Humanists International

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