Universal Period Review of Antigua and Barbuda
Statement by Australia
4 October 2011
Australia welcomes the delegation from Antigua and Barbuda and appreciates its engagement in the Universal Periodic Review process.
Australia would particularly like to acknowledge and congratulate Antigua and Barbuda, as a Small Island State, on its participation in the UPR process, which requires considerable effort given limited resources.
Australia welcomes the establishment of its National Committee on Social Indicators and Millennium Goals in collaboration with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the implementation of its National Multi-Sectorial Committee on the Rights of the Child to monitor and evaluate mechanisms under the Convention.
Australia is concerned by continuing reports of the use of excessive force and threats of violence by the police force. We welcome the action taken by the Government to introduce training for police on international conventions and consular access.
Australia welcomes the Government’s work on rehabilitation of offenders, however we note reports of declining prison conditions in Antigua and Barbuda, including in relation to overcrowding and poor facilities.
We are concerned that Antigua and Barbuda retains the death penalty as a judicial punishment within its criminal code. Consistent with our position towards all other retentionist countries, Australia urges Antigua and Barbuda to abolish the death penalty.
We welcome the commitment of the Government of Antigua and Barbuda to safeguarding the rights of the child; those with disabilities; and encourage the Government to continue with its initiatives in the area of education.
Australia recommends Antigua and Barbuda:
1. Accede to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aimed at abolishing the death penalty, and take all necessary steps to remove the death penalty from Antigua and Barbuda law; and
2. Improve conditions in Antigua and Barbuda’s prisons and detention facilities.