Jamaica: Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to Hear Case Against Jamaica’s Anti-Buggery Law

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Tuesday October 16, 2018 – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) says it will look into a case challenging Jamaica’s anti-buggery law, which has been brought by a gay man living in exile, and a lesbian who says she was also forced to flee the country.

And the London-based Human Dignity Trust (HDT) has welcomed the decision by the human rights body to accept the admissibility of the case.

The victims in the case, Gareth Henry and Simone Edwards claim that sections of Jamaica’s 1864 Offences Against the Person Act – a British colonial-era law that outlaws the ‘abominable crime of buggery’ and acts of ‘gross indecency’ – not only criminalize consensual sexual activity between men, but also legitimize violence towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

In its report setting out the decision, the IACHR – an autonomous organ of the Organization of American States (OAS) – acknowledged the victims’ concerns about  “violence and discrimination against LGBTI people and the impact of buggery laws” and noted that, “if proved, the alleged facts relating to threats to life, personal integrity, interference with private and family life, obstacles to the right of residence and movement, unequal treatment, lack of access to justice and judicial protection, and interference in access to health care, could establish possible violations of…the American Convention [on Human Rights]”. Read more via Caribbean 360