J-FLAG welcomes IACHR ruling on violation of the rights of homosexuals
J-FLAG is welcoming a ruling by the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights that the Jamaican Government violated the rights of a gay man and a lesbian.
The ruling by the international tribunal was issued in September 2019, but the commission had kept it confidential until Wednesday.
“This is now the landmark LGBT human rights case for the entire Caribbean region,” said Human Dignity Trust, a United Kingdom-based legal organisation that presented the case to the commission in 2011.
The trust represented Gareth Henry, who attorneys said is a gay man living as a refugee in Canada, and Simone Edwards, a lesbian they say was forced to flee Jamaica.
Reacting, J-FLAG says the ruling is reflective of the positive wave within local and regional judicial bodies as noted in Belize, Trinidad and Guyana, to affirm and protect the human rights of lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender persons in the Caribbean.
It noted that the commission presented a menu of options for the Government to address the situation faced by the petitioners and others like them who have faced stigma, discrimination, violence, and exclusion.
The organisation says the case presents an opportunity for increased dialogue between it and the Government on how to best secure the rights of LGBT Jamaicans and ensure that the tragic incidents experienced by the petitioners do not recur.
J-FLAG says it remains open to having that dialogue and providing the space for leaders to engage members of the LGBT community around their experiences and challenges, and begin the process of addressing the prevalence of stigma and discrimination identified within the petition.
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