(Kingston, Jamaica -----June 8, 2008)
“J-FLAG disappointed by GOJ’s attempts to block its participation in
UN AIDS High Level meeting”
That the government of Jamaica should find itself on a list alongside countries such as Zimbabwe
and Egypt that suppress dialogue and are known for their poor human rights records is worrying.
Coming on the heels of Prime Minister Bruce Golding’s declaration on the BBC programme
HARDtalk that there was no place in his cabinet for gays, the attempt to bar J-FLAG from
participating in this meeting is even more troubling, since it does further damage to Jamaica’s
reputation on the international scene. Together with the ongoing perception that some of the
country’s Dancehall artistes routinely incite violence against gays and lesbians, this interference on the part of the government further cements the view that Jamaica is a country where the silencing of gays and lesbians is not only preached by cultural icons but actively supported by the government.
As a legally registered human rights non governmental organisation, J-FLAG believes that it has
the right to advocate and press its concerns in national and international forums. Further, it views the right to voice, especially where there is disagreement, as a fundamental principle in any democratic society. J-FLAG therefore considers the attempt to bar it from participation in the UN meeting as a violation of the right to expression and a hostile move against all civil society.
Like our Dancehall artistes, the government has been willing to risk tarnishing the country’s name on the international stage in such quick succession indicating that it will stop at nothing to make its gay and lesbian citizens into pariahs. J-FLAG reminds the government that this is not only contrary to the democratic traditions it claims to uphold but also contrary to the interests of the country. It also calls on the government to desist from its illogical targeting of gays and lesbians for discrimination.
Tel: (876) 978-8988