U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1997 - Barbados
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||30 January 1998|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1997 - Barbados, 30 January 1998, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6aa1d1c.html [accessed 17 April 2014]|
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, January 30, 1998.
BARBADOSBarbados, a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, is a constitutional democracy with a multiparty, parliamentary form of government. The Queen is head of state and is represented by an appointed Governor General. Prime Minister Owen Arthur is the head of government and governs with an appointed cabinet. The judiciary is independent. The Royal Barbados Police Force is charged with maintaining public order. The small volunteer Barbados Defence Force (BDF), responsible for national security, can be employed to maintain public order in times of crisis, emergency, or other specific need. In response to increased crime in tourist areas, the BDF has assisted the police since 1993 by patrolling beaches. On the whole, the police respected constitutional and legal provisions protecting human rights, but there continued to be infrequent reports of abuses by police. The economy is based on tourism, services, light manufacturing, and agriculture, which makes it vulnerable to external economic developments. Per capita gross domestic product exceeds $7,000. Barbados has experienced a continued strong recovery after a recession in the early 1990's. In 1997 the economy was expected to grow approximately 3.5 percent, based primarily on increases in tourism. Citizens enjoy a wide range of rights and freedoms, and the Government respects constitutional provisions regarding human rights. Principal human rights problems continued to be societal violence against women and children and occasional instances of excessive use of force by police.