Calls for Brakes to be applied to Charter of Rights

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The Houses of Parliament

The Jamaica Forum for Lesbian All-Sexuals and Gays yesterday called on Members of Parliament to not rush the debate on the Charter of Rights through the Assembly. The Group in its press release noted that it “is urging the Jamaican Parliament to make provisions to protect the human rights of all Jamaicans, and provide a framework to reduce discrimination against all persons including Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and the Transgendered (LGBT); persons with disabilities and persons affected by particular health conditions such as HIV in the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms”.

The Group has indicated that it is not opposed to the principle of a Charter of Rights and reaffirms its committed to the process of Constitutional Reform. However, it does wish to advise that the Charter should serve as the basis of human rights recognition for all in the Jamaican society irrespective of sexual orientation.

Parliamentarians are expected to cast their vote on the Charter of Rights Bill this week, as Prime Minister Bruce Golding announced. Golding, who had piloted the Bill in the Lower House of Parliament and closed the debate last December, said the vote will be taken in the Lower House tomorrow, and then the provision will be sent to the Senate for further debate. The Bill is expected to be passed with full support of both sides of the political divide as Counsel for the Opposition A.J. Nicholson has indicated that the PNP benches will be in full support of the motion.

The Jamaica Forum for All Sexuals and Gays has over the past year stepped up its public advocacy on the matter of Tolerance for the rights of LGBT individuals. These activities have included street demonstrations in Kingston, Radio interviews and utilization of forums on popular social networking site Facebook. Please click for a copy of the Proposed Charter of Rights Bill and JFLAG Press Release

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