JIS News

Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, Olivia Grange, has said that the Government will continue to uphold the human rights of citizens through the development of policies such as the National Gender Policy and the Sexual Harassment Policy.
The Minister, in her message for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women 2008, which will be celebrated on Tuesday (Nov. 25), said that “as a signatory to the Beijing Platform of Action and a member of the only region where every state has ratified the Convention on the Elimination of Violence Against Women and developed the Inter-America Convention to Prevent, Punish and Eradicate Violence Against Women, Jamaica, and by extension its citizens, have the responsibility to ensure that human rights and social justice are maintained”.
She informed that submissions have been made towards combining two pieces of legislation – Offences Against the Person (Amendment) Act and the Incest (Punishment) (Amendment) Act – to form the Sexual Offences Bill, towards creating the Sexual Offences Act.
“The Prime Minister has also established a task force on Child Abuse of which I am a part,” she informed.
The Minister, in her message, pointed to the need for “a sustainable deterrent against violence programme that will bring about a restoration of hope in a society that has sadly lost touch with what it means to value life”.
“The spate of violence that is associated with a country that can produce the world’s two fastest men and sprinting legends, cannot be ignored,” Miss Grange stated.
She said that in the year ironically termed ‘two thousand and love’, the month of September has witnessed more than 100 murders, 64 reported cases of rape, 21 reported cases of carnal abuse, and crimes against women have increased by 30 per cent.
The Minister also noted that there has been a rise in the number of predatory crimes committed against the girl child and more than 700 children have gone missing between January to September 2008.
Of the total number of minors gone missing, 177 are boys while 560 are girls. In addition, more than 200 children have not been found.
“One cannot begin to describe the heart wrenching pain that comes from reading about the sexual molestation and gruesome murders of our girls and boys, lives callously ended too soon,” Miss Grange stated, while urging Jamaicans to “fight for a better tomorrow and change the course of our future.”
“We must all band together and act as a catalyst for change and raise our voices and shout ‘Human Rights for all, Human Rights for Women and Girls’ and end the cycle of violence plaguing the land. Let us seek to capitalise on our positives, our gifts and our talents and abilities, and work towards re-building this nation in the true spirit of love and unity,” she added.
November 25, 2008 marks the beginning of the annual observance of 16 days of activism against gender-based violence. The final day of this period, December 10, 2008 signals the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.