poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Amnesty International Launches Global Action to Combat Homophobic Violence in Jamaica

New York) – As people around the globe prepare to commemorate June Pride Month, Amnesty International (AI) continues to document serious human rights violations against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT) throughout the world. Today Amnesty International announced that it is mobilizing its global membership to take action and combat homophobic violence in Jamaica, where LGBT people are at risk of verbal abuse, torture and ill-treatment at the hands of individuals and police.

"We are encouraging members and concerned human rights activists to write to Prime Minister P.J. Patterson of Jamaica and let him know that as a first step toward changing the climate of violence and discrimination against LGBT people in his country, we are demanding that he make a public statement condemning such violence," stated Michael Heflin, Director of Amnesty International USA's OUTfront program on LGBT human rights. "We are also asking him to initiate a debate on repealing laws that criminalize sexual relations between consenting adults."

According to reports received by AI, gay men and women in Jamaica have been beaten, cut, burned, raped and shot because of their sexual orientation. Cases of violence against lesbians, including rape and other forms of sexual abuse, also have been reported to AI. Some women have fled the country to escape persecution.

Reports suggest that the police officers in Jamaica are often either directly involved or complicit in crimes committed against LGBT people by denying protection and tacitly or actively supporting torture and ill-treatment. Police have reportedlyfailed to investigate homophobic hate crimes and have arrested and detained men overnight whom they suspect of being gay. Because law enforcement officials have failed to protect victims of violence, the number of men and women who report abuse is assumed to be many times fewer than the number of actual incidents.


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