Jamaica is proud of its contribution to the international human rights system

human rights

human rights

NARRATOR:  Jamaica is proud of its contribution to the international human rights system.
Word of this comes from the country’s representative to the Human Rights Council Ambassador Wayne Mc Cook.  He noted that during a recent visit of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to Jamaica, the Government provided its fullest cooperation and provided full access to all stakeholders and prisoners and detainees.  Ambassador Mc. Cook said the government concurs with the report by the special rapporteur that there was no finding of torture being a problem in Jamaica.

TAPE: This was reflected in his own assessment conveyed in briefings with government officials, prior to his departure from Jamaica, in which he indicated that he found no evidence of torture. This finding reflects the fact that our constitution explicitly prohibits such conduct and furthermore, as the report observes, interrogations must be conducted in the presence of a lawyer or Justice of the Peace. We disagree with the Special Rapporteur’s conclusion that certain cases of beating, which were deemed to be for the purposes of punishment, amount to torture. We note that a basis for this conclusion is laid in the assessment of the outcome of a disturbance at the Horizon Remand Facility which resulted in injuries being sustained by inmates as well as custodians.

NARRATOR: Ambassador McCook said the firm commitment of Jamaica to principles of humane treatment was inscribed in its Constitution and reflected in its laws and legal practice. He said the Government of Jamaica recognizes that resource constraints continue to prevent it from improving the conditions in detention facilities to the level desired. At the same time, he acknowledged that the situation in prisons and lock-ups require improvement.

TAPE: However, we cannot agree that conditions in certain adult facilities reflect a complete disregard for the dignity of detainees and “can generally be regarded as inhuman”. In seeking to address legitimate concerns regarding certain facilities, the government is seeking to make improvements, focusing first on the priority area of the treatment of children in conflict with the law and those in need of care and protection. We note in this regard the positive observation made …regarding the exemplary conditions at the Diamond Crest Facility for girls. One of the challenges that the government faces is the increase in the number of juvenile offenders both male and female. New facilities are urgently needed to accommodate the juveniles while there are limited resources to construct them. A new facility is being retrofitted to accommodate these juvenile offenders are held in separate facilities from adults.

NARRATOR: Ambassador Mc Cook explained that with respect to children in need of care and protection, this is a matter which is receiving attention at the highest levels of Government.
This is Donn Bobb reporting.

Duration: 2’46″

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