First joint consultation on implementation of UN recommendations in Jamaica
CCPR, ISHR and ILGA conducted a national consultation with Jamaican NGOs on implementation of UPR and HR Committee's recommendations
Participants at the national consultation on implementation of UPR and Human Rights Committee's recommendations in Jamaica
The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), the Centre for Civil and Political Rights (CCPR) and the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) – along with national partners JFlag and TransWave Jamaica – conducted a two-day consultation to develop strategies toward the national implementation of UN recommendations in Jamaica. The event took place on 27-28 November 2018 in Kingston.
Around 20 national human rights defenders from a range of organisations including WeChange, Children First and iFlex came together to examine existing UN recommendations in relation to women’s rights, children’s rights, HIV response, and the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) persons.
Joining the group were Adley Duncan, from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions of Jamaica, who offered valuable insight at the two-day training, and George Abualzulof, Senior Human Rights Advisor of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), who delivered a commentary on UN mechanisms to aid in promoting and protecting human rights.
UPR and Human Rights Committee's recommendations to Jamaica
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a peer review process where the human rights situation of each State is reviewed by all other UN member States every five years. During the review the State under review receives recommendations on how to improve its human rights situation.
The Human Rights Committee is an expert UN body that periodically reviews the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) by each State Party. As part of that review, the Human Rights Committee publishes Concluding Observations stipulating steps the State should take to improve the implementation of its obligations under the ICCPR.
Jamaica was reviewed by the Human Rights Committee in 2016 and underwent the second cycle of the UPR in 2015. As part of those reviews, Jamaica received, inter alia, the following recommendations:
- In the Charter of Rights Bill currently before Parliament, include a specific prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, repeal all legal provisions criminalizing consensual relations between adults of the same sex and combat this type of discrimination through awareness-raising campaigns and education programmes in school.
- Amend the Sexual Offences Act and the Domestic Violence Act to increase protection for women and girls as well as men and boys against sexual violence.
- Strengthen the implementation of the national programme to combat HIV and sexually transmitted diseases and ensure that discrimination against persons with HIV be prohibited.
During the consultation clear strategies were developed toward the implementation of recommendations received, strategies that will be acted upon in the coming months.
‘Jamaica will have its next UPR in 2020, and its next report to the Human Rights Committee is expected to be in 2021. We consider a lot can be achieved regarding the implementation of these recommendations in that time’, said CCPR Centre’s Programme Manager, Andrea Meraz.
Recommendations made by these UN bodies can be crucial levers for change to complement and strengthen existing calls being made at the national level.
‘We urge Jamaica to listen to calls being made from within, as well as externally, to strengthen the protection of the rights of its people, especially of those more vulnerable groups such as women, children and LGBT persons; as well as those defending their rights’, said ILGA’s Senior Officer, UN Advocacy Diana Carolina Prado Mosquera.
NGOs will submit a report to the Human Rights Committee on the measures taken by Jamaica to implement priority recommendations withing the follow-up procedure.