by Linda Straker
- Country’s 2020 Universal Periodic Review was held in Geneva on Monday, 27 January
- Portugal, Seychelles, Slovenia and Timor-Leste praised Grenada for signing Convention against Torture
- Grenada appealed to repeal all discriminatory laws especially Section 431 of the criminal code
Grenada’s decision to enact the Electronic Crimes Act and to sign the International Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment during the 2019 United Nations General Assembly has come in for high praise by several United Nations members during the country’s 2020 Universal Periodic Review which was held in Geneva on Monday, 27 January 2020.
On 26 September 2019 Grenada signed and acceded the convention and will now have to put structures in place to ensure among other things that any person to be extradited will not be subjected to torture. That convention came into force 32 years ago.
Article 3 of the convention, better known as UNCAT, states, “No State Party shall expel, return or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.”
The clause also explains that for the purpose of determining whether there are such grounds, the competent authorities shall take into account all relevant considerations including, where applicable, the existence in the state concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights.
Among the countries praising Grenada for signing the convention against torture were Portugal, Seychelles, Slovenia, Timor-Leste.
The Electronic Crimes Act was approved in 2013 and came into effect in 2016. Though the praises were for the entire legislation, section 10 which is subtitled “Violation of Privacy” is the section which is of special interest.
“A person who, knowingly or without lawful excuse or justification, captures, publishes or transmits the image of a private area of a person without his or her consent, under circumstances violating the privacy of that person, commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $200,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding three years or to both,” the law said. Among the countries expressing praise for the Electronic Crimes Act during the review were Seychelles, Timor-Leste and Spain.
During the two hour review, while Foreign Affairs Minister, Peter David, and Senior Legal Counsel in the Ministry of Legal Affairs, Robert Branch, were in the hot seat, a number of the states including some from Caricom, also praised Grenada for a number of national initiatives including the decision to amend the Police Standing Order with regards to interviewing and investigating victims of sexual and domestic crimes; establishing of the National Human Rights Institute and the parliamentary approval and making into law the Trafficking in Persons legislation who forbids human trafficking.
Appeals were made from the various UN states to repeal all discriminatory laws especially Section 431 of the criminal code; abolish all forms of corporal punishment, decriminalise abortion, sign the optional protocol for disabled persons and put measures in place for the protection of journalists.