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Gov't makes international commitment to reduce violence against women, gays

Published:Thursday | May 21, 2015 | 12:00 AMGary Spaulding
Justice Minister Mark Golding

A senior legislator in the Portia Simpson Miller administration revealed yesterday that he

has adopted a multi-ministerial approach to protect the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

But Justice Minister Mark Golding was silent on Simpson Miller's promised parliamentary vote on the buggery law four years ago.

Golding told journalists that concerns were raised by members of the international community last week in Geneva, Switzerland, on the fate of Jamaica's buggery laws.

He was speaking during a joint press conference convened by his ministry and the A.J. Nicholson-led Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade on Jamaica's presentation at the Universal Periodic Review (Human Rights).

"There were concerns raised by delegations on the issues of discrimination and stigma against such groups such as women and LGBT persons," said Golding.

"There were concerns expressed about the treatment, particularly violence against LGBT persons, with several delegations calling for [the] repeal of the buggery law," he added.


Golding said he told the international community that

in order to create a better understanding of the concerns of the LGBT community, several initiatives have been put in place.

These, he said, include the Jamaica Constabulary Force Diversity Policy, implemented in August 2011, as well as the enactment of Section 18A of the Offences Against the Person Act.

"I expressed the commitment of the Jamaican Government to take measures to reduce violence against all groups, including women and LGBT persons," said Golding.

The Universal Periodic Review is a methodical assessment by the international community of each country's adherence

to enshrined human-rights principles.

Of 168 recommendations made to Jamaica, Golding said the Government plans to address 24 in a more fulsome way in the follow-up session in September.

Among those which will take priority are:

n The establishment of a National Human Rights Institute.

n The removal of the death penalty from the books.

n Tackling gender-based violence.

n Conditions of detention.

Golding told journalists that Jamaica was commended for its positive strides, especially in the issue of justice reform, gender equality, and the increased participation of women in various spheres of life.