Saint Lucia

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Persistent violations
  • Discrimination against women and girls[1]
  • Inadequate reproductive healthcare and education[2]
  • Corporal punishment[3]
  • Inadequate education provision[4]
  • Life imprisonment of children[5]
  • Inadequate legislation on child labour[6]
  • Inappropriate definition of the child[7]
  • Inadequate legislation on non-discrimination and on the protection of vulnerable groups[8]
  • Inadequate protection against and response to abuse of children[9]

For more details, go here

Footnotes
  1. UN Committee on the Rights of the child, Universal Periodic Review
  2. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, Universal Periodic Review
  3. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Universal Periodic Review
  4. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Universal Periodic Review
  5. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Universal Periodic Review
  6. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Universal Periodic Review
  7. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Universal Periodic Review
  8. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Universal Periodic Review
  9. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Universal Periodic Review



Introduction

Located in the Eastern Caribbean and prone to hurricanes, this predominantly Catholic island has transitioned from a British Empire colony to full independence. Despite gradually introducing political reforms and democratic institutions, legal reforms have not followed suit. Notably, capital punishment has been reintroduced in response to the rising homicide rate. In addition,children can still be sentenced to life imprisonment.

Geography

St Lucia is located amongst the Windward Islands in the Eastern Caribbean, to the south of Martinique and the north of St Vincent. The island's terrain is famous for its twin volcanic mountains (the Pitons) and sulferous springs at Souriere. The topical climate has little temperature variation, though the island is on the hurricane belt, and regularly suffers violent storms between May and November. The capital city is Castries.

Population and language

Saint Lucia is home to 176,000 people, a figure that has consistently risen since independence and continues to do so at an annual rate of around one per cent[1]. A large majority of St Lucians identify themselves as members of a Christian denomination, particularly Catholicism (61 per cent), though there are small communities of Muslims, Hindus[2].
English is the official and commercial language, though French or patois (Kweyol) are also widely spoken[3].

History and politics

St Lucia was originally settled by the Arawak peoples in around 200AD, a population that was later displaced by the Amerindian Caribs around 600 years later. Europeans first settled the island in the 1550s led by the bucaneer Francois le Clerc and Dutch, British and French colonists all staked claims to the country. In the century and a half that led up to 1814, French and British forces persistently fought over the island, which was ultimately brought within the control of the British Empire. In the 20th century, St Lucia underwent a process of gradual political reforms whereby democratic institutions were developed and the island moved towards self government and independence. In 1967 the country was granted full internal self-government, which led to full independence within the Commonwealth twelve years later under the leadership of John Compton of the United Workers Party (UWP).

Since independence national politics has been dominated by the UWP and the St Lucia Labour Party (SLP). The UWP were the majority party throughout the 1980s and most of the 1990s, but the SLP returned to power under Kenny Anthony, the current Prime Minister in 1997. An UWP government held office for a single term in 2006, but in the 2011 elections, Prime Minister Anthony and the SLP returned to power.

Economy

Agriculture, particularly the cultivation of bananas, was historically the main source of foreign revenue for St Lucia. Over the past 15 years, however, the dominant position of the banana trade has declined with the erosion of the country's preferential access to the EU market, reducing banana exports from 132,0000 tonnes per year in 1992 to 42,000 in 2004[4]. In the place of agricultural exports tourism has become a more significant source of economic activity, indeed in 2010 the island received a record number of stay over visitors despite the global economic crisis[5]. Public sector debt proses a potential problem for the country, however, as it has risen sharply in recent years, from 66 percent to 75 per cent between 2008 and 2009, a trend which led the International Monetary fund to conclude that the country was at a moderate risk of debt distress in 2010[6].

Media and civil society

Reporters Without Borders rated the Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States 25 out of 179 countries in its 2011/12 Press Freedom Index following, what RWB identified as, “an almost total lack of acts of violence or serious breaches of freedom of information”. The island's newspapers and broadcasters are largely privately owned but the government operates a radio network. St Lucia has no daily newspapers, but a two newspapers that publish three-times a week[7].

Human rights and children's rights

The rising rate of homicide in many other Caribbean states is also felt in Saint Lucia, which has experienced record numbers of homicides[8], and reintroduced capital punishment as part of its response to the phenomenon. Among the most serious human rights issues facing children in Saint Lucia are also in relation to the justice system, Life imprisonment is a legal penalty for children under the age of 18, and the criminalisation of behavioural problems such as truancy and vagrancy has criminalised children for acts that would not be criminal if committed by adults[9].

  1. UNDESA, "Population Statistics 2011"
  2. The Saint Lucia Government Statistics Department, "Census Report 2010"
  3. Foreign and Commonwealth Office, "Saint Lucia Country Profile"
  4. BBC, "St Lucia's declining banana trade" 2 August 2005
  5. Foreign and Commonwealth Office, "Saint Lucia Country Profile"
  6. International Monetary Fund, "St Lucia: External and public debt sustainability analysis" 26 February 2010
  7. Reporters Without Borders, "World Press Freedom Index 2011/12"
  8. UN News Centre, "Criminal violence taking rising toll in Caribbean countries, UN report finds" 8 February 2012 and "Caribbean Human Development Report 2012"
  9. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations, September 2005

Sources:


Quick Facts

  • Population: 177,800 (UNDP, 2012)
  • Population under 18: 54,000 (UNICEF, 2012)
  • Number of internet users: 142,900 (88.5 per cent of the population) (Internet World Stats, 2010)
  • Human Development Index ranking: 88 (UNDP, 2012)
  • Happy Planet Index ranking: N/A