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Britain says it will continue to work with the Caribbean to abolish death penalty

Tuesday, May 01, 2012 | 6:02 AM    

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) – The British government says it will continue to work with a number of countries including those in the Caribbean to abolish the death penalty.

In its newly released “Human Rights and Democracy Report” the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said that the United Kingdom’s long-standing policy to oppose the death penalty in all circumstances remains as a matter of principle.

“We consider that its use undermines human 43 dignity, that there is no conclusive evidence that it has any value as a deterrent, and that any miscarriage of justice is irreversible and irreparable. Global abolition of the death penalty continues to be a priority for the UK Government.

“The international trend towards abolition of the death penalty was maintained in 2011 and we are keen to see this trend continue,” the FCO said in its newly released report, noting that in October last year, the government published an updated Strategy for Abolition of the Death Penalty, setting out its “three goals to support our overarching objective of global abolition of the death penalty”.

It said among the goals are to increase the number of abolitionist countries, or countries with a moratorium on the use of the death penalty and ensure that the European Union (EU) minimum standards on the death penalty, such as fair trial rights and non-execution of juveniles, are met in countries which retain the death penalty.

“Following careful review, our priority countries - China, the US, Belarus, Commonwealth Caribbean and Iran - remain the same, London said, adding that it has raised the death penalty bilaterally with a number of our priority countries at both official and ministerial level, including Japan, the Commonwealth Caribbean, Belarus and Singapore. 

London said that it would continue to work with the European Union Commission to improve the effectiveness of the various strategies against the death penalty in 2012.

“We believe that the UK has most directly impacted on progress towards global abolition of the death penalty through our project work,” adding that through the United Nations “we continued to raise the death penalty in the Universal Periodic Review process, and encouraged countries including Trinidad and Tobago, Singapore and Antigua to formally establish moratoriums on the use of the death penalty with a view to abolition.

“In 2012, we will continue to implement our strategy and its three goals. We will work hard to ensure that the biennial UN General Assembly Resolution on the Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty again achieves record support, as it did in 2010. This will truly reinforce the international trend towards global abolition,” it added.

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