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.