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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Human rights physique calls on Jamaica to repeal its ban on homosexual intercourse

Mahogany Seashore in Jamaica – Picture: Jimfbleak, through Wikimedia.

The highest human rights physique of the Americas has referred to as on Jamaica to repeal its colonial-era ban criminalizing consensual same-sex relationships.

In a first-of-its-kind ruling for LGBTQ rights, the Inter-American Fee on Human Rights dominated that criminalizing LGBTQ individuals or same-sex habits violates worldwide regulation. The choice was made in September 2019, however remained strictly confidential beneath the fee’s orders till Wednesday.

In 2011, the fee, the human rights arm of the Group of American States, heard complaints from two Jamaicans: Gareth Henry, who was attacked a number of occasions due to his sexual orientation, even being chased by a crowd of 200 individuals chanting that gays ought to die; and Simone Edwards, a single mom who, together with two of her brothers, was shot a number of occasions by two males exterior her dwelling, as a result of they suspected she was a lesbian and one in every of her brothers was homosexual. Edwards misplaced a kidney and a part of her liver because of the assault.

Each Henry and Edwards claimed they have been pressured to flee Jamaica in 2008 and search asylum in Canada and the Netherlands, respectively, out of concern they’d be killed in the event that they remained in Jamaica. Of their compliant, the 2 argued that the 1864 ban on “buggery” and “gross indecency” — one of many relics of British rule over the island nation — was getting used to justify violence in opposition to LGBTQ individuals, in line with the Thomson Reuters Basis.

Individuals who discover themselves on the receiving finish of violence usually refuse to complain to authorities, fearing that admitting their sexual orientation may end in them being prosecuted by the state. In Jamaica, the penalty for same-sex intimacy is as much as 10 years in jail, with arduous labor.

The fee discovered that Jamaica’s regulation violated Henry and Edwards’ proper to human remedy, equal safety earlier than the regulation, privateness, and freedom of motion. It urged the Jamaican authorities to repeal sections of the regulation criminalizing consensual same-sex exercise between males, and really helpful that the nation undertake nondiscrimination legal guidelines defending LGBTQ people, and supply LGBTQ competency coaching for police and safety forces.

See additionally: Bhutan lawmakers vote to roll again a part of anti-gay sodomy regulation


Whereas the fee lacks enforcement energy, some advocates are hopeful that the ruling will immediate lawmakers to repeal the anti-sodomy regulation.

“It’s an enormous authorized victory that’s related not just for Jamaica however for all the area,” Tea Braun, director of the Human Dignity Belief, stated, noting that eight different Caribbean nations have related legal guidelines. “It is a vital stress level and hopefully it would speed up the repeal of those legal guidelines.”

Henry advised Thomson Reuters he was “overwhelmed with pleasure” on the choice.

“All my life individuals have advised me that who I’m and who I really like is fallacious,” he stated. “Now, for the primary time ever, I lastly really feel I’m proper,” he stated. 

Nevertheless, he warned {that a} single ruling by the IACHR won’t change the regulation nor the societal attitudes that condone violence in opposition to LGBTQ individuals.

“Gays and lesbians proceed to be killed and tortured as a result of they’re deemed to be completely different,” he stated.

Learn extra:

LGBTQ advocates reward reintroduction of Equality Act

New York Gov. Cuomo orders well being insurers to cowl fertility therapies for same-sex {couples}

UN chastises Finland for rejecting asylum request from lesbian couple’s youngster fleeing Russia

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