JIS News

The establishment of a National Human Rights Institute in Jamaica is under review.

Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Hon. Marlene Malahoo Forte, made the disclosure at the Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) policy summit on the state of justice, held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on March 30.

The focus of the Institute is to complement the existing network of institutions that are mandated to protect the rights of nationals.

“For me, the matter is under review and not under review in a negative way. I believe that we have to look at how we enable the institutions of the State to deal with what has been guaranteed in the Charter of Rights,” Mrs. Malahoo Forte said.

“It is a major departure in the framework for the protection of rights in this jurisdiction, it exists in other jurisdictions and it’s something that we will have to look at as we reimagine the institutions for the protection of rights and freedom,” she added.

The Charter of Rights provides for the protection of the rights and freedoms of Jamaicans, subject to such measures as are required for State governance in periods of public disaster or emergency, or as are regarded as demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

It also provides for the protection of life, liberty and the security of the person; freedom of thought, conscience, belief and observance of religious and political doctrines; freedom of expression; the right to seek, distribute or disseminate to any other person information, opinions and ideas through media; and peaceful assembly and association.

At the event, JFJ presented the findings of its yearly justice report, which explores the state of justice on the island.

The report presents a retrospective analysis of 297 cases supported by the organisation, across issues of states of public emergency, arbitrary arrest and detention, police abuse, gender-based violence, among others.

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