WHAT IS THE LEGAL STANDARD SET FOR STATE ACTORS AND LAWMAKERS IN BARBADOS IN RELATION TO GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE?
Duty to comply with ratified international human rights conventions
State actors and lawmakers in Barbados have a legal duty to comply with the terms of the international human rights conventions that Barbados has ratified or acceded to. Barbados ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) on October 16, 1980 and ratified the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women on May 16, 1995.
Barbados has a legal obligation to protect women and girls from domestic violence and sexual violence including sexual harassment. The State is required to put the necessary legal and administrative mechanisms in place to adequately protect women and girls from these forms of violence and to provide them with access to just and effective remedies. There must be sustained efforts by the State (such as continuous training of law enforcement personnel and judicial officers, sensitizing the media, educating the public) to challenge the stereotypical attitudes dominant in Barbados which help to perpetuate violence against women and girls.
Duty to comply with the Constitution as the supreme law
The Constitution of Barbados 1966 is the supreme law. It guards the human rights of all persons within the country and holds the State accountable for violation of human rights. Gender-based violence threatens women’s right to life and to security of the person. The obligation mandated by the Constitution to protect the human rights of persons within the country extends to a positive obligation on the State to protect women and girls from domestic violence and sexual violence.