“It is a highly significant step forward that must now accelerate the repeal of these stigmatising and discriminatory laws.”
It’s been reported that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has called on Jamaica to repeal their anti-LGBTQ+ laws in a new ruling.
The commissions’ decision was first made back in Septemeber 2019 but couldn’t be reported on until this past week.
Director of Human Dignity Trust, Téa Braun showcased her support, stating: “It is a highly significant step forward that must now accelerate the repeal of these stigmatising and discriminatory laws.”
The ruling comes after the international tribune concluded that the country violated the rights of Gareth Henry, a gay man and Simone Edwards a lesbian woman.
Both Henry and Edwards experienced extreme forms of abuse while living in the country.
In 2008 Edwards was shot multiple times by homophobic gang members and Henry was beaten by a police officer in front of a mob of people.
The two have since been granted asylum in Canada and Europe respectively.
After the ruling, Edwards feels more optimistic for the future, expressing hopes to return back to Jamaica someday.
“It gives me hope that one day these outdated laws will be done away with and I’ll be able to return to my homeland without fear of attack, she said.
Henry also revealed his excitement for the future, stating: “All my life people have told me that who I am and who I love is wrong. Now, for the first time ever, I finally feel I am right.”
Jamaica’s currently enforces the 1864 Offences Against the Person Act which criminalises the LGBTQ+ community by banning same-sex relationships.
If found guilty of “buggery” and acts of “gross indecency” a person can face up to 10 years in prison with hard labour.
Even though the decision is non-binding LGBTQ+ activists are hopeful that the public decision will invoke changes to the current conservative laws.