The International Commission against the Death Penalty participated in mission to Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and Jamaica organised by the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on the Abolition of the Death Penalty. Madame Ruth Dreifuss and Baroness Scotland visited the three countries for discussions about the death penalty. During the mission they met with state officials including government ministers, law officers, Members of Parliament and senior judges as well as members of the diplomatic community. There were also a number of media interviews and public events on the death penalty.
Executions in all three countries are rare. The last executions were: Barbados (1984), Jamaica (1988), and Trinidad and Tobago (1999). Despite the low number of executions there is strong public support for the death penalty. Governments see capital punishment as a criminal justice issue and a judicial punishment that is permitted under international law. There is an absence of political leadership to move towards abolition and governments argue the death penalty is a necessary to deal with high-levels of violent crime.
In this context it is important to maintain a dialogue with government officials on steps which can be taken towards eventual abolition. To that end it is also important to reach out to others including the judiciary and those involved in law enforcement as well as educational bodies, media, non governmental organizations and religious organizations to galvanize more interest and public support for the cause of abolition.
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