Friday, April 10, 2015

'You Don't Have To Swing To Beat Up Gays' (Gleaner) ..... HRW LGBT Rights Director says

Thanks to Human Rights Watch's LGBT Rights Director for a timely reminder of the two reports they had done, I am intimately knowledgeable of the first "Hated to Death" having participated in the interviews and also submitting my own matter from 1996 where I was arrested for buggery but the collection in some parts is anecdotal as well with hardly any strong evidence but for the words of the interviewed at the time.

I am an advocate for photographic and video evidence which often are missing from such dossiers when they are compiled.

Firstly here is the article from the Gleaner:

President Obama's visit to Jamaica presented a good opportunity for him to discuss Jamaica's human rights record, including the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, during bilateral talks with the prime minister.

When gay-rights activists disrupted a speech by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller in New York on March 26, she retorted: "Nobody ever hears the Government of Jamaica beating up gays. Not one."

Sadly, this is only partially true.

Human Rights Watch has written two reports on violence against LGBT Jamaicans in the last 10 years.

The first, from 2004, Hated to Death, showed that abuse by police was rife and "a fact of life" for many LGBT Jamaicans in all communities where Human Rights Watch conducted research. At the time, and despite strong evidence to the contrary, police were reluctant to acknowledge homophobic hate crimes, which they characterised as "crimes of passion". The senior superintendent at the Kingston police station told Human Rights Watch: "We never have any cases of gay men being beaten up."

Ten years later, the second report, Not Safe At Home, showed that the Jamaican Government had taken some steps to address this intolerable situation.

In 2011, the Jamaican Constabulary Force introduced a Policy on Diversity, developed in consultation with the Jamaican advocacy group J-FLAG. The policy is designed to ensure that vulnerable groups, including LGBT people, can safely file police reports. The Ministry of National Security has also developed tools to monitor instances of crime, including provisions for disaggregated data on violence against LGBT people.

These are good initiatives, but they have not worked well in practice.

Here is the evidence: More than half of the 71 LGBT people interviewed for the 2014 report had experienced some form of violence based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Nineteen reported the crimes to the police, who took formal statements in only eight cases. Victims were aware of arrests by police in only four of the 56 cases of violence documented by Human Rights Watch. The Government does not need to "beat up gays" to fail them.

While the Jamaican Government has shown a willingness to acknowledge the violence, more can, and should, be done.

The prime minister and other leaders should consistently condemn violence and discrimination. Police should undertake rigorous investigations into all allegations of anti-LGBT hate crimes, improve monitoring of the Policy on Diversity, and strengthen police training on LGBT rights. Jamaica's 1864 buggery law gives social sanction to hostility and discrimination and should be repealed.

Justice Minister Mark Golding has acknowledged the need for targeted anti-discrimination legislation to address violations against certain groups in society. Such legislation, inclusive of LGBT people, would be a clear signal that discrimination has no place in Jamaica. Parliament should strike down all discriminatory laws and replace them with laws that protect Jamaicans from discrimination on the grounds of gender identity and sexual orientation.

Yesterday, President Obama co-chaired a meeting of CARICOM heads of government in Jamaica, ahead of the Summit of the Americas in Panama. He will hold bilateral discussions on matters of mutual interest with Prime Minister Simpson Miller. The spokesperson for the National Security Council, Ned Price, has reportedly said: "We are committed to advancing human rights for all, including LGBT individuals. Indeed, we routinely raise issues of anti-LGBT discrimination and violence with foreign counterparts, including the Jamaican Government."

While the White House has declined to say whether Obama will talk about the rights of LGBT people on this visit, this will be a good opportunity to do so. Under Portia Simpson Miller's watch, this should be an entirely uncontroversial topic and one that does not need to be tiptoed around.

• Graeme Reid is the LGBT rights director at Human Rights Watch


Given the political climate the culture here in Jamaica and as was discussed yesterday on Nationwide radio politicians run to the hills or use the delay tactic claiming the nation is not ready as yet which in part maybe true. 

Politicians in private know what needs to be done but political fortunes must be protected and the wall of disbelief (crimes of passion mantra homophobes hold on to) (Youtube) of homophobic claims is a challenge as hinted to above.

Then there is the matter of shifting for example the press release below from the PNP days after the historic statement by Mrs Simpson Miller, the party was worried they were being viewed as about to free the buggery law and the backlash that might not let them win the election then.

While the recommendations from HRW sound plausible and aspirational we must take into account the realities hence but the HRW position here sounds far more realistic than some other overseas commentary and interventions as of late for example GLAAD's urging of Obama to address the issues when they said homosexuality is illegal when in fact it is buggery that is not orientation.

Knee jerk reactions by other 'activists' to an obvious spike in homo-negative incidents is not the way to go about it, careful thought has to be done and strategizing but with recent outcomes in the lobby as well as outside of it leaves me wondering and indeed concerned on many fronts.

A recent report alongside a very short 30 second video clip suggesting the person therein was stoned because he was gay unverified, and no credible information included has only sought to ruffle feathers and the disbelief quotient rises, see: Alleged Gay Youth Stoned to Death in Jamaica (VIDEO) it has since emerged the beating was a mobbing of an alleged thief and not a homophobic matter. 

Crisis reporting/communication requires proper investigation, care, patience and clarity to enhance credibility for the long term goal of not only changing laws but hearts and minds.

check out my latest podcast:

also see: (first two are must reads)
Health Minister Says Boldness Needed to Change Buggery Laws for HIV Prevention Work to be Effective with at Risk Groups 

Not to mention the feelings of the oppressed becoming the oppressor: Gay Advocates aren't Bullies (Gleaner Letter) and Pro-Gay Bully Ignoring Grave Health Impact (Gleaner) and Perception of Jamaican LGBTQ lobby bullying continues

Jamaican Opposition Leader says he would allow homosexuals in his cabinet

Non Governmental Organization Consultant says JLP suggested Referendum on Buggery is not a good idea

Opposition Leader sides with antigay groups on Referendum on The Buggery Law

PNP’s Bobby Pickersgill differs on Conscience Vote route to decide on Buggery Law

PNP's Damion Crawford says it's highly unlikely buggery review will happen ........ it's not important now

The PNP's first 100 days ............. buggery review looks far away

PNP Wins ................Hope for LGBT People ??

CVM TV @ Sunrise on the Buggery review & JFLAG's 100 days hope for meeting with PM

On Buggery and gays in cabinets with politics ............ some responses .

Jamaican LGBT Advocacy credibility takes another blow thanks to UK based Gay Star News

Integrity of Jamaican LGBT Advocate Questioned, named as student loan delinquent

New Imperialists in Pink

Murder Music Campaign needs local leadership and Gov’t Hush Hush On Gay Pressure …As Promoters Forced To Pull Queen Ifrica From Canada Show

Rev Al Miller’s late response to Dwayne Jones’ Murder & Respect heterosexuals demand

Stand Firm Against Gay Activists, Madam PM 2015 from veteran anti gay Christian lawyer Shirley Richards
Sizzla bats for Queen Ifrica as expected

Queen Ifrica's "Freedom of Speech" & advocacy found wanting

'I SPOKE FOR WHAT I BELIEVED IN' - Queen Ifrica defends Grand Gala performance after JFLAG backlash

Peace and tolerance



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