Wed | Nov 29, 2023

JET welcomes IACHR decision in favour of residents of St Ann mining communities

Published:Monday | December 12, 2022 | 11:54 AM
Some of the affected communities are Barnstaple, Bryan Castle, Caledonia, Endeavour, Gibraltar, Madras and Somerton. - File photo

Local lobby group, the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET), is hailing a recent decision by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) requiring the Jamaican government to take steps to address the impact of bauxite mining on the health of residents of some St Ann communities.

The ruling was made on November 24.

The request for precautionary measures was filed by Freedom Imaginaries, a human rights non-profit organisation, and claimed, among other things, that the" exposure to bauxite dust has caused serious and negative impacts to the overall health, reported medical conditions and illnesses of the residents".

Some of the affected communities are Barnstaple, Bryan Castle, Caledonia, Endeavour, Gibraltar, Madras and Somerton.

The IACHR issued a resolution through which it granted precautionary measures in favour of "individualised Afro-descendant persons from peasant communities of St Ann, after considering that they are in a serious and urgent situation that poses a risk of irreparable harm to their rights in Jamaica."

It said the Government of Jamaica should carry out the necessary medical diagnoses to define the corresponding medical care; guarantee adequate, timely, and specialised medical care, according to the medical conditions; and guarantee access to contaminant-free water;
The Government has also been told to adopt the necessary measures to prevent threats, harassment, and other acts of violence against the beneficiaries; consult and agree upon the measures to be adopted; and report on the actions taken to investigate the events that led to the adoption of the precautionary measure to prevent recurrence.

JET's CEO, Dr Theresa Rodriguez-Moodie said “This has been a long standing problem and it is unfortunate that an international organisation has had to request the Government of Jamaica to respect rights granted under its own constitution”.

“It is unconscionable that the government has put the economics of the country over the health and welfare of its citizens,” she also stated.

The Government has 20 days, from November 24, to inform the Commission on the adoption of the precautionary measures that have been determined and to periodically update such information.

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