Press Release

IACHR Condemns Murder of Two Gay Men in Jamaica

July 9, 2012

Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the killing in Kingston, Jamaica, of two men who, according to the civil society organizations and media outlets, were gay.

The two bodies were found on June 13, 2012, in the vicinity of the intersection of Trafalgar Road and Lady Musgrave Road, in New Kingston. According to the information received the bodies appear to have been chopped or mutilated, and were found near several rocks with blood stains. According to a local LGTB organization, this ocurred in a context of severe violence against the LGTB community in Jamaica, where eight gay men have been murdered within the last three months, among other reported acts of violence.

The IACHR reminds the State of its obligation to investigate such acts on its own initiative and to punish those responsible. The Inter-American Commission urges the State to conduct an investigation that takes into account whether this murder was committed because of the gender expression, gender identity or sexual orientation of the victims.

The Commission continues to receive information on killings, torture, arbitrary arrests, and other forms of violence and exclusion against lesbians, gays, and trans, bisexual, and intersex persons in the continent. In addition, the Commission notes that problems exist in the investigation of those crimes, which involve, in part, failures to open lines of investigation into whether the crime was committed by reason of the victim’s gender identity or sexual orientation. The ineffectiveness of the state response fosters high rates of impunity, which in turn lead to the chronic repetition of such crimes, leaving the victims and their families defenseless.

The IACHR urges the State to take action to prevent and respond to these human rights abuses and to ensure that LGTBI people can effectively enjoy their right to a life free from discrimination and violence, including the adoption of policies and public campaigns and the amendments necessary to bring laws into line with the inter-American instruments on human rights.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 82/12