Francis issues statement to mark World Day Against Death Penalty

Press Release:-Tuesday 10th October 2017 is observed as the World Day Against the Death Penalty. First observed in 2003 by the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty (WCADP), this year marks the 15th observance with focus on the theme “Poverty and Justice a deadly mix.”

The purpose of this theme is to raise awareness about the reasons why people living in poverty are at a greater risk of being sentenced to death and executed.  The World Coalition Against the Death Penalty is an alliance of N.G.O’s, Bar Associations, local authorities and Unions.

The overall objective of the WCA against the Death Penalty is to strengthen the international dimension of the fight against the Death Penalty with the goal to achieve universal abolition of the death penalty.

The Caribbean is also part of the international campaign, through the work of the Greater Caribbean For Life (GCL) which is a Non-Profit, Civil Society Organisation established in Trinidad on October 2nd 2013 to unite the Caribbean abolitionist organizations and individuals.

GCL believes in stopping crime not lives and strives to create a culture of respect for the right to live and for the dignity of all human beings.

The Greater Caribbean consists of 25 countries/states including 13 Caricom countries which retain the Death Penalty.

As a member of the Greater Caribbean For Life I take this opportunity to raise awareness of the international campaign to abolish the Death Penalty.  Although there has been no execution in St. Lucia since 1994, St. Lucia remains a retentionist country.  Against the strong statements made 2 weeks ago by the Minister of Justice, to visit the gallows, it is necessary to state categorically that despite the rise in youth violent crime and murder, this is a backward stance, as hanging is no deterrent to crime.

In keeping with this year’s theme “Poverty and Justice a deadly mix” I call on the Government to stop crime and not lives.  Rather to focus on the issue of poverty and its related ills.  Prevention is the key.  By focusing on the social and economic origin of crime, such as the poverty which engenders violence and disregard for Law and Order.  In this regard St. Lucia must adopt the recommendations contained in the U.N.D.P 2012 Report “Human Development and the shift to better citizen security.”

The U.N.D.P urges Governments in the region to strive to achieve “a better balance between legitimate law enforcement and preventive measures, with a stronger focus on prevention and to invest more, for example in youth development, job creation and reducing poverty and socio-economic inequality, inequity.  These strategies can contribute to a safer and more democratic just society in the region.

This is the strategy for St. Lucia in preventing crime/murder instead of applying the Death Penalty.  At the domestic level we must try to eradicate the drug culture, which breeds the gun culture, side by side introduce family support measures and rehabilitate delinquent youth.  The criminal justice system must be strengthened, by removing the delays, ensuring prosecutions and improving forensic investigation.

Above all St. Lucia must live up to its international responsibility by adhering to the 2014 recommendations of United Nations Human Rights Commission, which at the Universal Periodic Review Meeting for St. Lucia in 2015 urged St. Lucia to take steps to abolish the Death Penalty by signing and ratifying the 2nd Optional Protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which abolishes the Death Penalty.  St. Lucia should also consider stop voting against the U.N Resolutions regarding the call for a moratorium on the death penalty, which the Caribbean States as retentionist always vote against.

As World Day against the Death Penalty is observed, the victims of violent crime must not be forgotten, however, injustice cannot be fought with injustice and our Court of Appeal has already declared the mandatory death penalty (hanging) to be inhuman and degrading treatment and therefore unconstitutional.  For after all the RIGHT TO LIFE is the most fundamental human right and must be upheld by the citizens but more importantly upheld by the State.  It is wrong for the State to carry out capital punishment in the name of justice.  This is simply state killing, which most times involve the poorer marginalized in St. Lucia.

There must be a better way, there is nothing to fear but fear itself.  As Christians and citizens let us educate ourselves, let us become part of the International Campaign to abolish the Death Penalty and save lives

Without the right to life, there simply would be no human rights, because human rights are indivisible, are interrelated and interdependent.  The abolition of the death penalty is in keeping with evolving standards of decency/practised by modern democratic societies which have implemented alternative punishment for murder so as to keep society safe.  St. Lucia can do the same.

Mary M. Francis

Coordinator,

National Centre For Legal Aid and Human Rights Inc.

Member,

Greater Caribbean For Life (G.C.L)

12 Comments

  1. Davido
    October 10, 2017 at 6:12 am Reply

    Against death penalty? My ass. Kill and thou shalt be killed. Period. Enough of these senseless killings. Thumbs up for the Hangman.

  2. Anonymous
    October 10, 2017 at 7:24 am Reply

    Yes thumb’s up for the hangman but the hand man has to appear before God on judgement day..will you show up with him.at judge day..and he will have blood stained hands

  3. Anonymous
    October 10, 2017 at 7:25 am Reply

    I have never been a fan of Mary Francis. Even in the Bible there was a death penalty for crimes and sin. Mary Francis keeps yapping about human rights when criminals are apprehended by force or whatever the case may be. The people who get killed by these criminals, don’t they have human rights? Mary, you need to shut the hell up, it will do you better. Oh, didn’t you get robbed recently? Why didn’t I hear you make a statement?

  4. Anonymous
    October 10, 2017 at 8:42 am Reply

    Hoolo

  5. Anonymous
    October 10, 2017 at 8:48 am Reply

    Is that all you see in the Bible death penalty for crime and sin.well you have not read quarter of the Bible..Keep on reading Please

  6. Anonymous
    October 10, 2017 at 10:18 am Reply

    Mary Francis shut the hell up. St. Lucia only 41 homicides compared to Canada 43. Hang them all. Bring back capital punishment. Thou shalt not kill.

    1. Anonymous
      October 13, 2017 at 8:35 pm Reply

      You know Canada doesn’t have the death penalty right?!

  7. Anonymous
    October 10, 2017 at 10:53 am Reply

    People calling for more blood to end the bloodshed! What a sad, clueless hypocritical society we live in…SMDH

  8. Anonymous
    October 10, 2017 at 6:41 pm Reply

    A great commentary by a great St. Lucian human rights activist. Unfortunately, judging from the comments above, it appears that those folks are not capable of digesting the jest of you message. I salute you for your great work!

  9. Anonymous
    October 10, 2017 at 10:02 pm Reply

    if the human rights advocate for fair trial and judgment then it represents Biblical instructions and divine order.

    but to dismiss capital punishment violates the very value that the creator placed on the creation.
    you must understand that capital punishment served to establish and maintain equality.

    if someone’ willingly stole he paid back based on the value,if someone knew that their animal was fierce and willingly let it loose ,say a bull and it killed another bull ,the judgment for that was to pay the victim the value ,it was bull for bull not bull for sheep.

    someone who willingly took the life of another, payed back with his life not a bull .
    do you fair judgment, but someone who killed another by accident was spared ,they were sent to cities of refugees till the year of jubilee.

    no augments that cold blooded muder does not respect ,value and honor the life of another.

    1. Anonymous
      October 13, 2017 at 11:25 pm Reply

      “to dismiss capital punishment violates the very value that the creator placed on the creation” …..WOW. You have to be kidding me! Like the devil quoting scripture.

  10. Jean Claude Didier
    October 11, 2017 at 9:44 am Reply

    one must understand that the death penalty is not man’s idea but was established by the creator of life articulated in the Holy Scriptures.
    to everything there is a purpose so what was the purpose then ?
    the death sentence served to establish value ,equality and just recompense.

    for example coming from that stream the scriptures pointed out , if a man has a forousus animal which was not managed and it killed another man’s animal say a bull , the judgment would be bull for bull ,note note sheep ,not goat ,not dove but bull for bull.

    one would agree that in this judgment, equality and justice was served.

    provisions was made for accidents and un planed miss fortunes, those victim’s were spared and sent to cities of refuge and released in the year of jubilee, but for premeditated killings equality and justice demanded life for life.

    in our courts the principles stands for property, it is real sad that the value of human beings is measured different.

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