Jamaica rejects UPR recommendations on decriminalisation of homosexuality
Tuesday, 16 November 2010 15:37


The Working Group on the universal periodic review (UPR) conducted its review of Jamaica on 8 November 2010. The Jamaican delegation consisted of seven members, headed by the Minister of State, Senator Marlene Malahoo Forte, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.


During the interactive dialogue States brought up common concerns.  The most common recommendations included placing a moratorium on the death penalty, with a view to its eventual abolition, and decriminalising consensual sexual relations between adults of the same sex, both of which were vehemently rejected by Jamaica.


Other recommendations included creating an independent national human rights institution and implementing further policies to combat gender inequality. States were also concerned with extrajudicial killings and urged Jamaica to ratify the Convention against Torture (CAT) and several optional protocols, mainly the Optional Protocols to CAT, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women. Ms Forte presented an interesting justification for not having ratified these instruments, explaining that it was precisely respect for international law that prevented Jamaica from ratification as it did not have the capacity to implement additional obligations.


Jamaica expressed pride in progress made in the areas of poverty reduction, healthcare reform and education reform. Ms Forte admitted that much remained to be done by the Government but was quick to point to financial and other types of constraints, including International Monetary Fund (IMF) policies, which she claimed limited the country’s abilities to adequately address human rights issues. The Jamaican delegation also responded to concerns expressed about the situation of human rights defenders, swiftly dismissing allegations that the Government targets such individuals and does not adequately protect them.


In total 121 recommendations were made of which Jamaica accepted 71 and rejected 27 leaving 23 still under consideration. Ms Forte ended the meeting expressing gratitude to the working group for what she described as a ‘positive experience’.

© by The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) 2019