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Human rights disgrace!

BY JASON McKAY

Sunday, February 18, 2018

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A total of 159 women and 54 children were murdered in 2017. This is in addition to the 129 women and 15 children that were murdered in the period January to December 2016.

I have highlighted women and children because although men number more as homicide victims, there is a significant victim overlap among the males. By saying that I mean many of the male homicide victims are also the perpetrators of homicide.

The women and children are almost never gang members or killers, although I recognise there are exceptions.

The murder of 159 women and 54 children is the single greatest violation of human rights of any group in Jamaica. I treat this as a violation because the right to live is the most important, fundamental human right. One would ask 'why is it called this and the women and children were not killed by the State'.

Well, it is not only the State that can violate one's human rights. It can be done by militia, race supremacist groups, private security and criminal gangs, to name a few.

For the purpose of this article we are focusing on the violation of the human right to life that was perpetrated by the gangs of Jamaica against our women and children.

Well, following the format of previous responses to the violation of human rights in Jamaica, I will expect to see our human rights groups run to their international partners and request help to prevent further injustice.

I would expect our parliament to bond together and pass legislation that forms an organisation strictly for the purpose of the investigation and prosecution of persons who kill our women and children.

I further expect that this organisation will have the power to charge, arrest and prosecute without waiting on the involvement of the director of public prosecutions.

We will, of course, fund this organisation from Government coffers and international handouts and fully staff this organisation with the finest investigators money can buy, locally and internationally. Vehicles must be provided and several buildings rented or leased.

The most brilliant legal mind available must be sought to lead it and this organisation should be indemnified from legal action if it violates the rights of a citizen.

Does all of that sound like a lot?

I agree that it does, but this was done when we perceived that the rights of alleged gang members had been violated. I would like to think that our women and children are as important, if not more important than the men who consistently kill over 1,000 people every year.

With parliamentary approval, we must leave no stone unturned to ensure that never again will a killer's human rights ever be violated by the State. So I'm waiting for the same action that was taken for the gangster to be taken for the child. This doesn't seem unreasonable to me.

I don't think that any human rights activist will tell you that they believe that a gang member's life is more important than a child's. Therefore I'm waiting on the action.

But alas, all I'm hearing is deafening silence from these activists. Is it that they are really criminal rights organisations, is it that there is no scope to develop an international career in defending the weak from criminals and the real career development lies in defending criminals from the State?

Whatever the reason, their silence and inaction for this obvious wrong maybe structured and complicated in the world of international human rights.

However, from a local standpoint, I ask the question: when did the life of a gunman become more important than the life of a child?

My research does show the beginnings of the modern human rights organisations and activists with the rise of Flo O'Connor in the 1980s.

However, to be fair, the killing of women and children was not as prevalent in her era so I can't accuse her of inaction or neglect.

I have in fact found dramatic response to the killing of seven juveniles in Braeton, Portmore, in 2001 by varied human rights bodies, but alas, they were killed by the police so the response is expected despite the unquestionable link between several of this seven to at least three murders, a shooting, and a previous possession of firearm charge.

Jamaica's battle against the gangs will continue to be a losing one until they are viewed as what they are — the enemy of the State, a brutal microcosm of society and unrehabilitatible subculture, a powerful and well-armed militia, and a bunch of cowards who run to myriad human rights, statutory bodies and police investigatory organisations begging for protection when they realise they are being hunted by the police like the animals they are.

Currently, they are being viewed as enemies of the State by the police, as useful tools during elections by our politicians, the benefactors of a few in the inner city, a useful protective element of the business community, and the darlings who need protection by human rights organisations.

If half the attention was given to their destruction as was given to Prime Minister Andrew Holness' blunder in selecting a chief justice to act, we would probably be nearer to a solution rather than counting our dead everyday like scores in French dominoes.

So I challenge the powerful, local human rights lobby, with your almighty international partners capable of great things like preventing our government from getting aid or being sold arms and ammunition to organise a response to the slaughter of the weakest in our society, to rise up and organise a counter-attack with even half the vigour that you have mobilised against our police force and army to save even one child's life, and to demonstrate that the gangs are not only the enemies of the police, the Government and the weak, but are also listed as your enemies too.

Jason McKay is a criminologist. Send feedback to: jasonamckay@gmail.com.

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