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Stabroek News

Human rights group gets multimillion-dollar boost
published: Tuesday | December 20, 2005


Gerald Jarchow (centre) head of delegation of the European Commission to Jamaica, examines the details of a contract before signing the document yesterday with Lloyd Barnett (right), chairman of the Independent Jamaica Council for Human Rights (IJCHR). Also in photo is Nancy Anderson, legal officer for the IJCHR. Occasion was yesterday's signing of a grant contract between the EC and the IJCHR supporting advocacy for the abolition of the death penalty in Jamaica. The function was held at the IJCHR's Tower Street office in downtown, Kingston. - NORMAN GRINDLEY/DEPUTY CHIEF PHOTOGRAPHER

THE INDEPENDENT Jamaica Council for Human Rights (IJCHR), yesterday received a $24 million boost from the European Commission (EC) to aid in its campaign against the death penalty.

Dr. Lloyd Barnett, chairman of the IJCHR, signed on behalf of the council while Gerd Jarchow, Head of Delegation of the European Commission to Jamaica, signed on behalf of the EC.

The signing took place at the IJCHR's Tower Street office, downtown Kingston.

The project will have a duration of two years and is aimed at promoting and protecting the human rights of Jamaicans, with special emphasis on heightening the awareness of Jamaicans to more humane and viable rehabilitative alternatives to the death penalty.

A statement from the European Union said the main priority of the IJCHR is to defend the civil liberties and human rights of all Jamaicans regardless of their socio-economic background, ethnic, religious or political affiliation.

GENUINE DEMOCRACY

"The EU believes that the promotion of genuine democracy and respect for human rights is not only a moral imperative: it is also the determining factor in building sustainable human development and lasting peace," Mr. Jarchow said before the signing ceremony. "Actions in support of democratisation and respect for human rights can make a major contribution to peace, security and the prevention of conflicts."

The grant to IJCHR consists of five components: Advocacy in death penalty cases which includes representation in sentencing hearings, Privy Council cases and constitutional cases; advocacy training, including training programmes and direct assistance for attorneys; research on the death penalty in Jamaica; research on criminal justice reform, such as alternatives to the death penalty and reform of the parole system; and the establishment of an IJCHR branch in Montego Bay.

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