Tue | Nov 21, 2017

Jamaica shuns IACHR hearing

Published:Monday | October 23, 2017 | 6:30 PMDebbie-Ann Wright

The Jamaican government today shunned an Inter-American Commission on Human Rights hearing examining the alleged unlawful detention of persons by the Jamaican police.

The government reportedly took issue with heading under which the hearing was being heard.

It was titled 'Reports of Extrajudicial Executions and Excessive Use of Preventive Detention against Afro-descendants in Jamaica'.

The Jamaican government said it disagrees with the use of the word afro-descendants as it suggests that these persons are being targeted by the police.

At the same time, the Government said more than 90 per cent of Jamaicans are afro-descendants.

However, the president of the commission, Francisco Eguiguren, through an interpreter, said he did not understand the refusal of Government representatives to attend.

He argued it would have been more helpful if the Jamaican government had attended to clarify its position:

 

President of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Francisco Eguiguren, speaking through an interpreter

The Jamaican government also said it would not attend because it has no diplomatic representative in Uruguay, where the hearing was held.

However, Caribbean Researcher at Amnesty International, Louise Tillotson, said Jamaica's absence was unfortunate and the issues raised by the State is a continuation of excuses to not appear.

She also suggested the Government did not show up because the problems being complained about are a result of the failure of the state.

Tillotson said there is a real lack of political leadership to fix the problem, despite several strategic reviews of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

 

Caribbean Researcher at Amnesty International, Louise Tillotson.

Since 2000, law enforcement officials in Jamaica have allegedly killed more than 3,000 people, most of them young men living in marginalised communities. 

Statistics from the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) show that between January and September 2017, police killings increased by 44 per cent, compared with the similar period in 2016.