Jamaica Denies Systemic Homophobia
November 19, 2004
By 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
Kingston—The Jamaican government
has told an international human rights organization that chastised it for
allowing rampant homophobia to mind its own business.
Human Rights Watch in a report earlier this week accused
the government of turning a bind eye to police abuses on gays and people with
The organization also called on Jamaica to repeal its
sodomy laws which are used to target gays.
Thursday, the government accused HRW of bully tactics and
said it would not be swayed by foreign influences.
“We find the approach of this organization unacceptably
insensitive,” Information Minister Burchell Whiteman said in a statement.
“We also as the duly elected representatives of the
people feel that it is the people who must set our agenda in respect of the
legislation which we pass or the repeal of any existing laws. We are certainly
not about to respond to any organization, external to this country, which may
want to dictate to us how and when to deal with the laws of our land,”
Senator Whiteman said.
The international media has focused on Jamaica following
the furor over homophobic lyrics by some reggae singers.
One performer, Sizzla, was barred from entering the UK
following complaints about his music.
Sizzla’s hit tune Pump Up has the line “Shot
battybwoy, my big gun boom (Shoot queers, my big gun goes boom)”.
Another singer is wanted for the vicious beating of a gay
man in Kingston.
Following the release of the Human Rights Watch report
Superintendent Ionie Ramsey of the Jamaica Constabulary Force announced that
the police High Command had ordered a probe into the allegations.
to Death: Homophobia, Violence, and Jamaica’s HIV/AIDS Epidemic
[Home] [World] [Jamaica]