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Students tackle human rights and crime fighting at 2019 NMLS lecture

Published:Sunday | March 24, 2019 | 12:00 AMNickoy Wilson - Gleaner Writer

Amid concerns about human-rights infringements during the government-imposed states of public emergency and zones of special operations (ZOSOs), Norman Manley Law School students will this Tuesday host their annual lecture at The University of West Indies, Mona, focusing on striking a balance between crime fighting and human rights.

The annual lecture, being held under the theme ‘ZOSO: The Balance – Human Rights and Crime Fighting’, will explore the administration of the ZOSOs, as well as similar regimes, and their socio-economic impact on the rights of citizens.

Kenisha Gordon, member of the Norman Manley Lecture Committee, said that the topic was chosen given the controversy surrounding the execution of the crime-fighting strategies – ZOSO and the states of public emergency – and their infringement on human rights.

“We feel like having this discussion would be important, especially for Kingstonians, to understand the dynamics of the legislative framework and what it is that it’s trying to achieve because there has been a lot of contention as it relates to its purpose and how it has been affecting human rights as it relates to the detention aspect and how persons have been treated,” Gordon told The Gleaner yesterday.


Among the speakers slated for the event are National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang, Opposition Spokesperson on Justice Senator Donna Scott-Mottley, Deputy Public Defender Herbert McKenzie, and President of the Cornwall Bar Association Stacy-Ann Young.

ZOSOs were imposed on Mount Salem, St James, and Denham Town, Kingston, while SOEs were imposed on St James, the St Catherine North Police Division, and sections of the Corporate Area.

Despite resulting in a reduction in crime in areas where they were imposed, all SOEs lapsed at the end of January after the Parliamentary Opposition refused to vote in favour of their extension.

The People’s National Party cited that further extensions would be in breach of the constitutional rights of those affected.