JFJ Press Release: Mob Violence Abhorrent And Unacceptable

Mob Violence Abhorrent and Unacceptable

Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) is deeply disturbed by yet another incident of mob violence directed at persons who are alleged to be gay. This latest incident is particularly abhorrent because it occurred during a funeral service on Easter Sunday, April 8, 2007, at a church outside Mandeville. It is alleged that members of a mob surrounded the church and hurled missiles through a window at the back of the church, directed at persons in attendance who were alleged to be homosexual. This latest incident reflects intolerance, ignorance and a blatant disregard for human rights and the rule of law, behavior that is unacceptable in a democratic society.

The Easter Sunday incident follows an assault on allegedly homosexual men attending the MoBay Nite Out Carnival on April 2, 2007, as well as another very public incident of mob violence against alleged homosexuals, which occurred in Kingston in February of this year. JFJ condemns the use of violence in any situation, against any group of people living in Jamaica and is particularly concerned that incidents of violence against gay men are shamefully pervasive and appear to be increasing in frequency.

Much more must be done to bring an end to the increasing incidence of the use of mob violence across the country. Mob violence is destructive and abhorrent in a democracy supposedly built on the rule of law. A great deal of work must also be done to ensure the dignity and equality of all human beings, including sexual minorities, and leaders in all sectors of society must loudly and publicly condemn the use of violence as a means of problem solving in any situation. It is long past time for Jamaicans to acknowledge that all people, without any exceptions, must be treated as human beings whose dignity and equality should be respected.

We call on the police to investigate the matter speedily and professionally and on the leaders of church, state and the private sector to raise their voices loudly in condemnation of mob violence in any circumstance and in support of the rule of law.

For more information contact:
Carolyn Gomes: (876) 755-4524-6/382-8583
Susan Goffe: (876) 970-4224/ 815-3648