Human rights group worried at “alarming level of violence in Jamaica”

Washington D.C., United States,- The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) says it is concerned at the alarming level of violence in Jamaica that has been affecting all sectors of society for many years and has led to progressive deterioration of the human rights situation.

In its “Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Jamaica” released here, the human rights group presents the conclusions of its monitoring of the situation in Jamaica in recent years, including an on-site visit to Jamaica in December 2008, several public hearings on human rights in the country, as well as a constant exchange of information with the State and civil society organizations.

The IACHR is an autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS) and derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. 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.

The IACHR report outlines the groups’ concerns regarding the situation of citizen security and human rights generally in Jamaica, as well as its observations on the institutional weaknesses in the administration of justice, the problems of excessive use of force and police impunity, the conditions in prisons and penitentiaries, and the legal and procedural regime applied in death penalty cases.

In the report, the Inter-American Commission welcomes updated information presented by Jamaica that indicates a decrease in the number of homicides in recent years.

“However, the rate of violent deaths remains high, and requires the allocation of adequate resources, the strengthening of the capacity and professionalism of the security forces and the judicial process, and the application of integral, effective policies to address the social conditions that generate the violence.

“The Inter-American Commission also finds that the profound social and economic marginalization of large sectors of the Jamaican population results in the poorest and most excluded sectors of the population being disproportionately victimized by the overall situation of insecurity.”

The IHCR said the deep inequalities pervading Jamaican society are exacerbated by the State’s inadequate measures to protect and guarantee the human rights of women, children and other vulnerable groups.

“In particular, the IACHR finds the violent persecution and fear to which gays and lesbians are subject in Jamaica to be a priority human rights challenge,” while praising the authorities in Jamaica who cooperated to make the visit possible, and who contributed the observations presented in March 2012 to the draft report.

It said the valuable information provided by Jamaica “refers to the steps it has been adopting over the past few years to address and overcome structural situations affecting the full enjoyment of human rights of its population.

“The IACHR looks forward to continuing to collaborate with the Jamaican State and members of civil society to contribute to this process, within the mandate and powers given to it by the Charter of the OAS, the American Convention on Human Rights, its Statute and Rules of Procedure.”

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Source – Caribbean 360