Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Censures Jamaica for Violating the Rights of LGBTI Citizens

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12/01/2020

DECEMBER 1, 2020: The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has issued a scathing report declaring that Jamaica’s Offences Against the Person Act violates several of the individual rights protected by the American Convention on Human Rights, which Jamaica signed in 1977. The soon-to-be-released IACHR report lambasts the Jamaican act for criminalizing same-sex intercourse between males (punishable by 10 years in prison with hard labor) as well as “any act of gross indecency” — for example, a kiss — by a male with another male (punishable by two years in prison). “This report is a resounding victory for social justice and a necessary repudiation of homophobia,” said Sarah Bosha, Legal and Research Advisor, HIV and Human Rights at AIDS-Free World. “The IACHR’s findings and recommendations can lead to fundamental changes in public policy throughout the Caribbean.” “The 1864 law, a relic of colonialism, is instrumental in the spread of the HIV epidemic in the Caribbean region,” Bosha said. “It drives LGBTI people underground and away from essential HIV testing and treatment services. Now it is up to Jamaica to repeal the law.”

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