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State Department Report On Jamaica’s LGBTs: Arbitrary Detentions, Mob Attacks, Stabbings, Harassment and Targeted Shootings

Jim Burroway

March 17th, 2009

jamaica-flag.bmpTwo weeks ago, the U.S. State Department issued its annual Human Rights Report for 2008. Jamaica, a favorite holiday destination for millions of Americans, was singled out for extensive official and unofficial abuse of LGBT citizens of that country.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination
The law prohibits “acts of gross indecency” (generally interpreted as any kind of physical intimacy) between men, in public or in private, which are punishable by 10 years in prison.

The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All Sexuals, and Gays (J-FLAG) continued to report human rights abuses, including arbitrary detention, mob attacks, stabbings, harassment of homosexual patients by hospital and prison staff, and targeted shootings of homosexuals. Police often did not investigate such incidents.

J-FLAG members also suffered attacks on their property, home intrusions as people demanded to know the number of persons and beds in a home, and in one instance, a fire bombing at the home of two men that left one of them with burns on more than 60 percent of his body. In addition homosexuals faced death and arson threats, with some of these directed at the J-FLAG offices. J-FLAG did not publicize its location due to such threats, and its officials reported feeling unsafe having meetings with clients at the organization’s office.

In February a mob broke into the home of four presumed homosexual men, killing three of them. The fourth was missing and presumed dead. The men had reported being harassed for their perceived sexual orientation prior to the fatal attack. Police made some inquiries in the case but did not conduct a full investigation or make any arrests by year’s end.

The trial of six suspects arrested for the 2005 robbery and murder of Lenford “Steve” Harvey, initially begun and then postponed in 2007, was scheduled to recommence in January 2009.

Male inmates deemed by prison wardens to be homosexual were held in a separate facility for their protection. The method used for determining their sexual orientation was subjective and not regulated by the prison system, although inmates were said to confirm their homosexuality for their own safety. There were numerous reports of violence against homosexual inmates, perpetrated by the wardens and by other inmates, but few inmates sought recourse through the prison system.

Homosexual men were hesitant to report incidents against them because of fear for their physical well-being. Lesbian women were subject to sexual assault as well as other physical attacks. Human rights NGOs and government entities agreed that brutality against homosexuals, primarily by private citizens, was widespread in the community.

We reported on the mob killing last February. The situation in Jamaica has continued to deteriorate, with high-ranking Jamaican officials shrugging off anti-LGBT violence. Calls for “tolerance” in the popular media have remained decidedly one-sided by advocating tolerance only for those who espouse homophobic hatred. Courts in the United States, Canada and Europe have been providing asylum to LGBT Jamaicans who fear for their lives if they are forced to return. Meanwhile, support for boycotting Jamaica continues to build. Stay tuned.

Comments

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P
March 17th, 2009 | LINK

I always knew there was a reason not to listen to Reggae…

Emily K
March 17th, 2009 | LINK

Ok web-surfing Jamaicans, come out of the woodwork (as you usually do) to explain how you are “simply a Biblical people” that “aren’t like the rest of the world in accepting the abominable” – but that you “still LOVE homosexuals” but “only despise what they DO.”

Please come here and explain how you love us so much that you support the acts reported by the State Department. Then explain to your friends why you were on a pro-gay website in the first place, and see if snd how long they believe you.

Lynn David
March 18th, 2009 | LINK

Now, can we get a similar report as concerns Uganda and specifying those Americans who would be instigators of such abuse as may in the future ensue, especially after the USA signed the UN declaration concerning decriminalization.

Yeek
March 18th, 2009 | LINK

On-Line Jamaicans –

Many people disapprove of gay people all over the world. And yet in Jamaica, the violence seems unusually bad – definitely more so than other neighboring islands.

Forgetting about the morality of homosexuality (which we’d probably never agree on anyway), why do you think the violence is so much worse in Jamaica? The biblical perspective isn’t a good enough answer, because so many other Caribbean islands also have a very, very strong biblical culture and worldview. But they don’t seem to have quite the intensity of violence and hostility. Why?

This isn’t a rhetorical question – I actually want to know what you think.

Johnson
March 18th, 2009 | LINK

Not just unsafe for gay men. Female tourists have also been raped and assaulted there. Having been to that hellhole, I can’t for the life of me understand why anyone would want to spend money to visit that crime-ridden slum.

Attmay
March 18th, 2009 | LINK

I say it’s time for war with Jamaica. There needs to be an actual military War on Homophobia. Unfortunately, that might cause another American Civil War.

Joel
March 18th, 2009 | LINK

Would like to see a list of the most anti-gay countries/societies…

Emily… if I was Jamaican and I believed what they did, i believe that you can relatively logically explain that.

A) They assume that the bible is perfect (on its own supernatural way). They assume that ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ is not an oxymoron.

B) They assume homosexuality is detrimental to society, and that accepting/tolerating sodomy/homosexuality will unleash a divine judgment on them.

If I believed that, then loving homosexuals (as much as loving someone who murders) yet abhorring the action (albeit even private) that will doom my country IS logical and reasonable. I deem it analogous to someone that would be enriching uranium for a nuke in my own country to eventually launch it on my own backyard. If i certainly knew someone was enriching uranium for this, i would definitely, most definitely, attempt stop it. Public affection= enriching uranium on the sidewalk. Private relationship= enriching uranium behind closed doors. The only difference here is the threat is supernatural but this difference is superfluous as the threat is REAL.

Stefano A
March 18th, 2009 | LINK

Joel:

http://www.ilga.org/statehomophobia/ILGA_State_Sponsored_Homophobia_2008.pdf

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