Jamaica faces legal action over anti-gay laws
Three people have launched legal against Jamaica due to the country’s continued enforcement of homophobic laws.
The case is being sent to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and has the support of the Human Dignity Trust, an LGBT-rights group based in the UK.
The people are: Gareth Henry, who successfully obtained asylum in Canada due to the violent abuse and persecution he suffered in Jamaica, based on his sexual orientation.
Dane Lewis, the director of J-FLAG – Jamaica’s only human rights lobby group and Ian McKnight, CEO of Caribbean Vulnerable Communities – who are the largest coalition of HIV/AIDS groups in the Caribbean.
The Jamaican criminal code prohibits sex between men and sentences for buggery can include 10 years imprisonment with hard labour – the laws date back to the island’s colonial past.
However, campaigners have accused her of inaction.
J-FLAG Executive Director Dane Lewis told the Guardian that homophobic killings in the country have increased:
“This year alone there have been nine [murders],” he said. “The violence in Jamaica is having a spillover effect on other parts of the Caribbean: St Lucia now has a murder or so every year.”
Jamaican police claimed Mr Terry’s death was not a homophobic murder.