Human Rights Violations of LGBT people in Jamaica: A Shadow Report

Published: November 1, 2011

I. Introduction

This shadow report on the human rights situation of LGBT people in Jamaica was written and
submitted through the collaborative efforts of Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals, & Gays
(J-FLAG), Women for Women (Kingston), Heartland Alliance, International Gay and Lesbian
Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), AIDS-Free World (AFW), and The George Washington
University Law School International Human Rights Clinic.1

Jamaica became party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (“ICCPR”) on
October 3, 1975. Jamaica submitted its second report for Universal Periodic Review (“UPR”)
under Article 40 of the ICCPR was in January 1997.2 In its concluding observations in response
to that report, the Human Rights Committee (“HRC”) expressed its hope at that time that the new
Jamaican Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms (“Charter”) would explicitly prohibit of
discrimination on the grounds of sex, and that any conflict between provisions of Section 24 of
the Jamaican Constitution and the ICCPR be eliminated.3 Since that time, however, Jamaica,
has not complied with the HRC’s recommendations. Rather than prohibiting discrimination on
the grounds of “sex,” the new Charter prohibits discrimination on the ground of being “male or
female.” This language serves to circumvent protections guaranteed under the ICCPR by
excluding from the Charter the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation
and gender identity, which the HRC has found to be protected grounds under the category of
“sex.”4 Jamaica failed to submit its third UPR report in 2001, but submitted its combined third
and fourth reports on July 20, 2009.5

As recently as June 2011, the Human Rights Council has reaffirmed its commitment to LGBT
issues through passage of Resolution 17/19, entitled Human rights, sexual orientation and
gender identity.6 The passing of this resolution stresses the importance of LGBT-identity related issues within human rights, and underscores the great steps that the Jamaican government must
take in order to bring its laws into compliance with the ICCPR.

Full text of article available at link below –

Leave a Reply