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HRW condemns LGBT discrimination in Jamaica
HRW condemns LGBT discrimination in Jamaica

[JURIST] Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals in Jamaica are facing violence and discrimination [press release], Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported [text] Tuesday. The report, entitled “Not Safe at Home,” summarizes findings during a five-week period last year through interviews with LGBT citizens and Jamaican police. The report details 56 documented cases of violence with explanations about how the reported attacks were handled by police. The report found that out of 56 cases, 19 were reported to the police, and only four of those reported resulted in arrests. According to the report, LGBT people are also more likely to have mental illness or to be homeless. The report recommends that government officials closely monitor enforcement bodies, create better reporting mechanisms, promptly and thoroughly investigate any reports, work with police, develop non-discriminatory policies, repeal Sections 76, 77, and 79 of the Offenses against the Person Act, which criminalize consensual adult same-sex conduct, and amend the Sexual Offenses Act 2009 [texts, PDF] to remove the gender-specific definitions of sexual intercourse and rape.

HRW director Graeme Reid [official profile] has previously discussed [JURIST op-ed] the implications of international law on LGBT human rights, as Jamaica is not the only country to be criticized recently for its treatment of its LGBT citizens. In Iran human rights groups urged [JURIST report] the president to end the prosecution of gays by multiple human rights groups at the beginning of the year. In September the UN released [JURSIT report] a video calling for the end to LGBT discrimination in all countries. The UN has increasingly paid attention to this issue, as last year was the first time the UN held [JURIST report] a ministerial meeting on LGBT rights. In the US attention is more focused on same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive]. However, in July US President Barack Obama [official website] also signed [JURIST report] an anti-discrimination executive order aimed at ending LGBT employment discrimination.