Jamaica Human Rights

Human Rights Concerns

With poverty and public security being key human rights concerns, Jamaicans face challenges that are replicated among many of the world's nations, especially in the developing world. In 2007, the Human Development Index published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) ranked Jamaica 101 out of 177 countries, situating the country in the medium Human Development category and on the lower end (second to Haiti) in the Caribbean.Crime and violence occur there at perennially alarming levels. Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the right to life, warrants special mention. The year 2005 was particularly deadly with 1650 homicides (a rate of 63 per 100,000), and was followed by 1300 in 2006 and over 1500 in 2007.

Discussions in print or broadcast media in Jamaica, or in academic discourse, about what ails the nation frequently come down in some way to how poverty is related to and exacerbated by the failure of institutions. Inner-city communities are invariably the most troubled by the presence of well-armed gangs. At the same time, citizens in these same communities have frequently made credible charges of unlawful lethal force by members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and Jamaica Defense Force, and they point to a record of police impunity.

Jamaica Newsroom

November 22, 2016 • Report

Waiting in vain: Unlawful police killings and relatives’ long struggle for justice

Jamaican authorities and local police are promoting a culture of fear amongst women and their families in marginalized communities to cover up thousands of alleged unlawful police killings amid systematic injustice, Amnesty International said in a new report today.

February 18, 2016 • Report

Amnesty International State of the World 2015-2016

International protection of human rights is in danger of unravelling as short-term national self-interest and draconian security crackdowns have led to a wholesale assault on basic freedoms and rights, warned Amnesty International as it launched its annual assessment of human rights around the world. “Your rights are in jeopardy: they are being treated with utter contempt by many governments around the world,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

February 25, 2015 • Report

State of the World 2014/2015

This has been a devastating year for those seeking to stand up for human rights and for those caught up in the suffering of war zones. Governments pay lip service to the importance of protecting civilians. And yet the world's politicians have miserably failed to protect those in greatest need. Amnesty International believes that this can and must finally change.

May 20, 2013 • Report

Annual Report: Jamaica 2013

Jamaica Head of state Queen Elizabeth II, Head of government Portia Simpson Miller High levels of gang-related murders and killings by police persisted in inner-city communities. There was no significant …

June 20, 2011 • Report

Annual Report: Jamaica 2011

Head of state: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Patrick Linton Allen Head of government: Bruce Golding Death penalty: retentionist Population: 2.7 million Life expectancy: 72.3 years Under-5 mortality (m/f): 28/28 …

May 20, 2011 • Report

Jamaica urged to bring to justice those guilty of gang operation killings

The Jamaican authorities must bring to justice those responsible for human rights violations, including the killing of 74 people in Kingston during a state of emergency imposed one year ago …

March 19, 2011 • Report

Annual Report: Jamaica 2010

Head of state Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Kenneth Hall Head of government Bruce Golding Death penalty retentionist Population 2.7 million Life expectancy 71.7 years Under-5 mortality (m/f) 28/28 per …

August 16, 2019 • Press Release

Six Police Officers Charged Over Killing of Matthew Lee in Jamaica

Reacting to the announcement that the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM), Jamaica’s independent police oversight body, presented charges against six members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) following a six-and-a-half-year investigation into the fatal shooting of Matthew Lee, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said.

March 15, 2018 • Press Release

Jamaica: Amnesty International supporters take half a million actions to end impunity for unlawful police killings

Accompanied by relatives of people killed by police across the Americas, Amnesty International today delivered 64,331 letters and signatures to the office of Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness as part of a campaign that has generated 500,000 actions urging his government to protect victims’ families from pervasive police intimidation and guarantee their access to justice.

February 22, 2016 • Press Release

Amnesty International’s Annual State of the World Report Slams Governments, Including the U.S., for Global Assault on Freedoms

On the launch of its 2015 State of the World report, Amnesty International USA urged President Obama to use his last year in office to bring U.S. laws and policies in line with international human rights standards.