TAKING A STAND: Human Rights Day – 10th December 2013
December 10 marks the 20th Anniversary of the establishment for the mandate of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Caribbean Development Activists & Women’s Network in partnership with Quality of Citizenship Jamaica, Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition and Jamaicans for Justice is organizing a stand on human rights day with other NGOs, youth leaders, students, and interested persons. The aim of the stand is to call for the improvement of ALL areas of human rights including, social, economic, civil, political, environmental, sexual and cultural rights.
The 2011 Concluding Observations of the Human Rights Committee, reports of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, plus local civil society organizations have noted that many citizens of Jamaica are not guaranteed respect, dignity and equality and inalienable rights as human beings. We note the following:
– The under-representation of women in decision-making positions in the public and private sectors,
stigmatization of persons living with HIV/AIDs;
– The high prevalence of rape and intimate partner violence and the low level of cases cleared
– The high prevalence of sexual and physical abuse of children and the low clear up rate of cases cleared
– The plight of homeless persons; street children; children engaged in sex work and go-go dancing;
– The condition of children living in state-run facilities
– A Charter of Rights and Fundamental Freedoms which enables discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, disability and gender identity; health and reproductive status
– Prohibition of safe, affordable and accessible abortion services which compels pregnant women to seek clandestine and harmful abortions.
– Environmental injustice towards persons whose livelihoods depends on ecosystems that are under treat by unsustainable tourism and development projects often sanctioned by the government.
– Environmental disregard for children and future citizens of Jamaica who will not be able to benefit from natural heritage of the protected areas siphoned off by the government towards unsustainable development projects.
– The exposure of young boys in under served communities to police harassment and brutality
– The exposure of young boys in under served communities to limited options other than gang violence and small arms trading;
– The prevalence of trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation and forced labour.
– The prevalence of discrimination against persons with disabilities
continued cases of extrajudicial executions by law enforcement officials
– The treatment of incarcerated persons
– The prevalence of discrimination against vulnerable groups in the legal system based on class, gender, age, sexual orientation, and health status.
The list of human rights concerns for Jamaican citizens is quite exhaustive and tells us that there is much work to do regarding enshrining human rights in our development path. Thus we call on students, youth leaders, activists, among all walks of life, from every corner of Jamaica to take a stand for what they stand for on Human Rights Day. We encourage all to walk with a poster with their own unique meme of what they stand for.
The Stand will be held at Emancipation Park, 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm on Tuesday 10 December