UN Human Rights Committee unsatisfied by the human rights situation in Jamaica

Published: October 20, 2011

Geneva, 20 October 2011 – The United Nations Human Rights Committee today concluded its review of the third periodic report of Jamaica on the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

The review allowed the Human Rights Committee to raise questions with the Jamaica delegation on several subjects of concern related to civil and political rights. Unfortunately, the Jamaican delegation did not include any representatives from the capital, which had a very negative impact on the quality of the dialogue.  “The absence of a strong representation from the country is extremely rare and is an alarming signal sent to the United Nations on the little attention and priority paid to human rights by Jamaica”, said Patrick Mutzenberg, Director of the Centre of Civil and Political Rights (CCPR), a NGO that monitors the implementation of the ICCPR worldwide.

On this occasion, a civil society coalition led by Jamaican for Justice (JFJ) provided a full report on the implementation of the ICCPR at the national level.  “Our report shows that discrimination is at the root of many human rights violations in Jamaica and needs to be urgently addressed by the Government.   We contend that the new Charter of Rights, rather than improving protection of human rights actually weakens the protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation, and discrimination against persons with disabilities or HIV / AIDS, among others”, said Dr. Carolyn Gomes, Executive Director of Jamaicans for Justice.

The very high numbers of extra-judicial killings by security forces was another subject of concern for the Human Rights Committee.  This issue was discussed at length by the UN experts who were worried that the majority of these killings remain inadequately investigated and that there have only been four convictions of police out of more than 3500 incidences in the past 20 years.  In her concluding remarks, the Chair of the Committee, Ms Zonke Majodina, said that “the lack of investigations reinforced the climate of impunity in Jamaica”.

On 4th November 2011, the Human Rights Committee will make its recommendations public and the State will be requested to widely disseminate them at the national level. It is hoped that the State will initiate a genuine dialogue with all sectors of the society that will lead to the implementation of the recommendations.

The report can be found on the Centre for Civil and Political RIghts website .

For more information contact:

Centre for Civil and Political Rights: Patrick Mutzenberg, pmutzenberg@ccprcentre.org

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