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Jamaica's treatment of gays comes under scrutiny again

Published:Tuesday | October 28, 2014 | 2:42 PM

Debbie-Ann Wright, News Editor - Radio



KINGSTON, Jamaica:

A member of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has suggested that public support for retention of the buggery laws should not be the statistic which guides the Jamaican Government’s decision on the matter.




Jamaica’s record in relation to the treatment of gays came in for scrutiny during an IACHR hearing this morning.



Jamaica’s ambassador to the United States, Stephen Vasciannie, told the commission that Jamaica was not seeking to sweep gay rights issues under the carpet.



Professor Vasciannie said the matter of removing the buggery laws was discussed when Jamaica passed the Charter of Rights but parliamentarians felt Jamaica was not ready for the significant cultural change it would require.



He also noted that parliamentarians are currently reviewing the country’s sexual offenses laws and the matter has come up for discussion.



However, Professor Vasciannie also pointed to a recent Gleaner-commissioned poll which showed that an overwhelming majority of Jamaicans are against repealing the anti-buggery laws.



But, the chairman of the IACHR panel, Rose-Marie Antoine, said there are other statistics showing that Jamaicans are against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.



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