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Jamaica’s War on Gays

in JAMAICA, 16/06/2010

Jamaica joined the unanimous adoption of OAS Resolutions 2435 and 2504 ‘Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity’ in 2008 and 2009. However, between 2009 and 2010 the country recorded numerous human rights abuses of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex citizens including:

* 32% HIV/AIDS prevalence rate among Men who have Sex with Men compared to 1.6% in the general population. This rate is second only to Kenya worldwide. Other countries in the Caribbean which have repealed their anti-buggery laws have HIV/AIDS prevalence rates of 1-8% among MSM. UNAIDS and the Jamaican Ministry of Health have unsuccessfully called on the Jamaican government to repeal these anti-buggery laws;

* 6 reports of persons being ejected from their homes by family members because of their sexual orientation;

* 4 reports of lesbians being raped to ‘make them straight.’ Jamaica’s notorious homophobia caused these women to refrain from reporting these ‘corrective rapes’ to the police for fear of being ridiculed and further stigmatized;

* 4 men were forced to flee their homes (one at gunpoint and another after his home was stoned) because they were identified participating in a national ‘Walk for Tolerance’ for persons infected, affected, and vulnerable to HIV/AIDS;

* 2 mob home invasions of persons suspected to be gay. One group of men was able to repel the attack while another group was taken into police custody and held for 2 days ‘for their own protection.’ There were no arrests of any mob members, despite the presence of armed individuals outside the police station where the men were held;

* Saving of 19th colonial laws in new Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Despite evidence of the disastrous effects of the laws which criminalize private intimate acts of same-sex consenting adults, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which will amend the country’s Constitution by the end of 2010 deliberately preserves these 19th century colonial laws and ‘saves’ them from any judicial review.
 

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