IACHR Press Office
Washington, D.C. - The IACHR salutes Barbados on its transition to a Republic, which contributes to the strengthening of democratic institutionality in the country. In this context, the IACHR reiterates that democracy is indispensable for human rights, and it is essential for the social, political and economic development of countries.
On November 30, 2021, Sandra Mason officially replaced Queen Elizabeth II as Head of State. With this act, Barbados formally transitioned to a Republican state, removing its last remaining colonial bond after nearly 400 years of British rule. This was done in keeping with the election held on October 20, 2021, where Mason was elected by the Parliament as the country's first President. On that occasion, the IACHR saluted Barbados on electing its first President.
In the framework of strengthening democratic institutions in the country, the IACHR welcomes the announcement by the Prime Minister regarding the commencement of public consultations in January 2022 for the creation of a new Constitution. Furthermore, the IACHR notes that Barbados established a Republican Status Transition Advisory Committee on May 22, 2021, that is tasked with determining the legislative and constitutional requirements essential for the transition and ensuring the full participation of citizens throughout the transition process.
According to the Inter-American Democratic Charter, democracy –besides being the basis of the rule of law– is essential for the effective exercise of fundamental freedoms and human rights, enshrined in the respective constitutions of States and in the Inter-American and international human rights instruments. Likewise, the participation of citizens in decisions regarding their own development is a right and responsibility, as well as a necessary condition for the full and effective right of democracy.
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.