For immediate release
JFJ to lobby UN Human Rights Committee on the Government’s Implementation of the ICCPR
Tuesday, October 18, 2011, Kingston, Jamaica – A delegation from Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) will be meeting with members of the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva, Switzerland with regard to Jamaica’s human rights track record. JFJ will also be sitting in on the 103rd session of the Human Rights Committee as it reviews Jamaica’s compliance with the provisions of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which will take place during October 19-20, 2011. JFJ hopes to present the civil society view of the reality on the ground pertaining to the government’s compliance with the Covenant to which it is a signatory.
JFJ had collaborated with seven other Jamaican non-governmental organizations (NGOs) – Hear the Children’s Cry, Independent Jamaican Council of Human Rights (IJCHR), Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG), Jamaican Community of HIV Positive Women, Mensana, Stand Up for Jamaica and Women’s Outreach and Resource Centre (WROC) – to prepare a report outlining human rights issues and concerns based on each organisation’s area of focus. The report entitled “Civil Society Response to the List of Issues” also offers 95 recommendations on issues including impunity and extrajudicial killings; children’s rights; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and inter-sex rights; the rights of persons with disabilities; and discrimination.
Jamaica is reviewed by the Human Rights Committee every three to five years, with this being its third time to be scrutinized on the international stage. Last year, Jamaica underwent the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process for the first time which allowed for all 192 United Nations member states, at different points in time, to declare to the Human Rights Council what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfill their human rights obligations.
The Human Rights Committee, which will be monitoring specifically how civil and political rights are being implemented by States parties of the United Nations, comprises 18 independent experts purported to be “persons of high moral character and recognized competence in the field of human rights”. All States parties are obligated to submit regular reports to the Committee with the latter examining each report, identifying approximately three or four recommendations it considers to be most serious and addressing them to the respective States party at the end of their “concluding observations”. The States party would then have a one-year period in which to provide information on the measures taken to carry out these recommendations.
JFJ and the local coalition of NGOs hope that by presenting their human rights concerns to the international community, the Jamaican government will be goaded to take the necessary steps to narrow the chasm between its rights obligations and what currently obtains. The JFJ team which will be undertaking the lobbying efforts consists of Dr. Carolyn Gomes, Executive Director, Mrs. Shawn Wilkinson, Director, Mrs. Samantha Chantrelle, Director, Ms. Tamara Muhammad, Senior Legal Counsel and Ms. Kimberley Byers, Human Rights Advisor. Their work has been made possible with the kind grant support of the European Union.
The Human Rights Committee review of Jamaica’s human rights track record will broadcast live on the Internet via http://www.ccprcentre.org/ at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, October 19 and 3 a.m. on Thursday, October 20 local time.