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Q&A: AIDS-Free World's Challenge of Jamaica's Anti-Gay Law

AIDS-Free World has filed a legal petition at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights arguing that by criminalizing homosexuality under its constitution, Jamaica is in violation of international human rights law. View the press release about the IACHR petition here.

What Jamaica’s Anti-Sodomy Law Is And What It Does
1. Why does AIDS-Free World care about Jamaica?
2. What is Jamaica’s anti-sodomy law?
3. What punishment does the anti-sodomy law prescribe?
4. What does the anti-sodomy law have to do with homophobia in Jamaica?
5. What does the anti-sodomy law have to do with the fight against HIV and AIDS?

The Legal Challenge To The Anti-Sodomy Law
6. Why is AIDS-Free World challenging the Jamaican anti-sodomy law?
7. Why is AIDS-Free World challenging the anti-sodomy law NOW?
8. Where is AIDS-Free World challenging this law?
9. Why isn’t AIDS-Free World challenging this Jamaican law in Jamaican courts?
10. What is AIDS-Free World’s role in this legal challenge?
11. Who, exactly, are the Petitioners?
12. Why are the Petitioners’ names and identities kept secret?
13. What has AIDS-Free World done to help the Petitioners (besides representing them in this legal challenge)?
14. If the Petitioners fear for their safety, what has AIDS-Free World done to protect them?
15. What exactly is the IACHR authorized to do?
16. What is a “petition” filed at the IACHR?
17. On what basis are the Petitioners and AIDS-Free World challenging the Jamaican “anti-sodomy” law?
18. What is the American Convention on Human Rights?
19. What rights in the American Convention does Jamaica’s “anti-sodomy law” violate?
20. What is the ultimate goal of this legal challenge?
21. Is the Jamaican government obligated to listen to the IACHR?
22. If Jamaica is not obligated to listen to the Inter-American Commission, why not go to the Inter-American Court?
23. What, then, is the purpose of the IACHR petition, if it doesn’t result in a legally binding decision against the government of Jamaica?
24. What does this case mean for other countries in the Americas (and is the IACHR’s decision binding upon them)?
25. Why is this case important?

The IACHR Petition Process
26. How long does a petition take to be processed?
27. What is the process by which the IACHR decides upon a petition?
28. What will happen to the Petitioners in the meantime?
29. Whom do I contact for more information about this petition?

What Jamaica’s Anti-Sodomy Law Is And What It Does

1. Why does AIDS-Free World care about Jamaica?

Jamaica has the reputation as the most homophobic place on earth. Horrendous violations of the human rights of gay, lesbian, transgender, intersex, and other gender non-conforming Jamaicans have been documented, ranging from bullying to extortion to brutal attacks to home invasions to murder, and everything in between. The homophobia in Jamaica is palpable; every day, the average Jamaican might witness (or participate in) incidents where gay men are verbally or physically assaulted on the street. This homophobia also drives men who have sex with men (MSM) deep underground, away from effective HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment, care, and support interventions. The result is that the HIV prevalence rate amongst Jamaican MSM is about 32% as compared to a rate of 1.6% in the general population. That means that nearly one out of every three Jamaican males who has sex with men is HIV positive, a deeply shocking and completely unacceptable statistic that translates into a serious public health crisis.

2. What is Jamaica’s anti-sodomy law?

Jamaica has a law that criminalizes consensual sexual conduct (actual or attempted) between men, as well as the “abominable crime of buggery” (anal sex) between any people of any sex. This law is called the “Offenses Against the Person Act,” and while it is a comprehensive law dealing with all sorts of crimes, three of its sections (76, 77, and 79) specifically make male homosexual sex and “buggery” illegal. This law has existed since 1864, when Jamaica was under British colonial law, and has endured since then despite the fact that Jamaica achieved independence in 1962.

3. What punishment does the anti-sodomy law prescribe?

The law requires that anyone convicted of “buggery” will be sentenced to up to ten years of imprisonment with hard labor; those convicted of “attempted buggery” or “any indecent assault upon any male person” will be sentenced to up to seven years in prison, with or without hard labor; and any male who commits or tries to commit an “act of gross indecency” with another male will be sentenced to as much as two years in prison, with or without hard labor. While very few cases have been documented in which the police or prosecutors in Jamaica have tried to charge individuals with these crimes, so long as the law exists, so, too, does the possibility of prosecution. This means that homosexuals live in fear that anything two men do, no matter how unremarkable—such as sitting in a car talking, or going to the beach together—might be perceived as a violation of the anti-sodomy law, and possibly will subject them to criminal prosecution.

4. What does the anti-sodomy law have to do with homophobia in Jamaica?

The law criminalizes three specific acts: “buggery,” “attempted buggery,” and “acts of gross indecency.” However, AIDS-Free World and many other organizations have documented the fact that politicians, elected officials, police officers, church leaders, and the average person on the street— members of the general population of Jamaica—universally understand the law to make homosexuality itself illegal. This means that the law effectively turns people into criminals if they are homosexual or are believed to be homosexual, or if they diverge in any way from commonly accepted notions of heterosexuality. Because under the law, anyone who performs or tries to perform a sexual act with a person of the same sex is a criminal, Jamaica’s law gives permission to people in the society at large to view homosexuals (actual or perceived) as criminals. Jamaica is a country in which vigilante justice against criminals is quite common. The anti-sodomy law encourages violence against homosexuals by essentially proclaiming, “these people are ‘unapprehended criminals,’ and therefore should be treated as such.”

5. What does the anti-sodomy law have to do with the fight against HIV and AIDS?

Laws that directly or indirectly criminalize homosexual acts, homosexual identity, and men who have sex with men (MSM) form barriers to effective responses to HIV in the countries that retain those laws. The laws create apprehension amongst homosexuals and MSM, who fear that even the mundane activities of daily life will lead to accusations that they are involved in criminal acts. For example, if a gay male goes to the doctor for an annual health check-up, that doctor may ask him if he is sexually active. If he answers truthfully, he has just confessed to a crime. If he lies and says he is not sexually active, or says he has sex with women, he will be depriving the doctor of accurate information about risks to his health.

Laws that criminalize homosexuals and homosexuality drive underground people who are in need of health and other services related to HIV and AIDS, and who are at risk of contracting the virus. Because the anti-sodomy law is perceived to criminalize homosexuality as a whole, men who have sex with men are deeply unpopular in Jamaica, and the government is not anxious to be seen as providing “special” services to them. Consequently, the Jamaican government uses the anti-sodomy law as an excuse for not creating adequate HIV-related health programs (outreach, testing, support, treatment, care) that target MSM. This combination of governmental inaction and legitimate fear amongst MSM creates enormous barriers to effective HIV and AIDS health programs.

The Legal Challenge To The Anti-Sodomy Law

6. Why is AIDS-Free World challenging the Jamaican anti-sodomy law?

AIDS-Free World’s mission is to challenge the laws, practices, programs, and actions (or inaction) that obstruct effective, comprehensive responses to the global HIV and AIDS pandemic. So long as the anti-sodomy law exists, a truly effective AIDS response in Jamaica will be impossible. The law, in essence, makes it legal to treat homosexuals and MSM as criminals. It makes Jamaica a hostile place for homosexuals and MSM, particularly those who seek any kind of health services. It drives underground homosexuals and MSM and prevents them from seeking critical HIV and AIDS prevention, testing, treatment, care, and support services. Jamaica is in the midst of an HIV crisis; 32% of all men who have sex with men are HIV positive. The anti-sodomy law makes it impossible to reach those people. Therefore, it must be changed.

AIDS-Free World, through its advocacy, seeks to address the underlying discrimination and injustice that enable HIV and AIDS to flourish. The Jamaican anti-sodomy law legalizes homophobic violence and discrimination against anyone in Jamaica who does not fit mainstream notions about sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Because the anti-sodomy law turns homosexuals into “unapprehended criminals,” the law enables people—government employees and private individuals alike—to commit human rights abuses against those who are homosexual or thought to be homosexual.

7. Why is AIDS-Free World challenging the anti-sodomy law NOW?

It is impossible to challenge a law of this kind without evidence that the law is leading to abuses. AIDS-Free World has been collaborating with organizations in Jamaica to gather the evidence necessary to prove the link between the anti-sodomy law and violations of human rights. Jamaican groups and activists are leading a movement that seeks to challenge human rights violations against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) and MSM communities, but building movements takes time. AIDS-Free World also has been working with Jamaican organizations to document abuses against LGBT and MSM, and it has taken some time for these communities to feel safe enough to come forward and tell their stories.

8. Where is AIDS-Free World challenging this law?

AIDS-Free World is challenging the anti-sodomy law before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), one of two institutions in the 35-country Americas region that exist to promote and protect human rights. (The other is the Inter-American Court on Human Rights.) The regional umbrella organization that brings together these 35 countries to discuss a wide range of issues, including democracy, human rights, security, and development, is called the Organization of American States (OAS). The IACHR and the Inter-American Court on Human Rights fall under the authority of the OAS. Their activities are focused on the human rights situation in the 35 countries that make up the Americas region. (More on the IACHR in question #15, below).

9. Why isn’t AIDS-Free World challenging this Jamaican law in Jamaican courts?

The Jamaican constitution has a relatively unusual clause in it called the “savings law clause,” which protects Jamaica’s anti-sodomy law from being contested in Jamaican courts. When the new Jamaican Charter of Rights and Fundamental Freedoms was passed in April 2011, it contained a provision stating that any pre-existing laws relating to sexual offenses (such as the anti-sodomy law), pornography, or abortion were “saved” from constitutional review. This legal protection immunizes the anti-sodomy law from challenge in Jamaican courts, and made it impossible for AIDS-Free World to assist Jamaican lawyers to bring a case in Jamaica. Consequently, our only recourse for challenging the law was to go to the IACHR.

10. What is AIDS-Free World’s role in this legal challenge?

As part of its broader efforts to abolish anti-gay laws that have survived from previous centuries in dozens of countries, and that violate human rights and exacerbate HIV transmission, AIDS-Free World and its legal team have filed a document—a “Petition”—on behalf of two Jamaicans to challenge the so-called “anti-sodomy law” that violates their human rights.

AIDS-Free World has been guided by its Legal Advisor on Marginalized Groups, Maurice Tomlinson, a Jamaican lawyer and activist, and supported financially by the MAC AIDS Foundation. The organization has worked for over two years in support of Jamaican human rights, LGBT, and AIDS advocacy groups’ multi-pronged efforts to promote tolerance and end discrimination in the country. At the activists’ request, AIDS-Free World developed a legal strategy to complement their efforts, beginning with training Jamaican advocates and lawyers to collect and document evidence of human rights violations. The organization’s Legal Director, Betsy Apple, assembled a team of contract and pro bono attorneys to support AIDS-Free World’s role as lead counsel, working in conjunction with Mr. Tomlinson. AIDS-Free World will be joined by Jamaican/British barrister Anthony Gifford in its role as lead counsel presenting the petitioners’ case to the IACHR when the hearing occurs. Ultimately, however, it is the two young gay men from Jamaica, the “petitioners,” who are actually challenging their country’s “anti-sodomy law.” AIDS-Free World’s legal team also comprises attorneys from the US law firm of Thompson Hine (David Schwartz, Samir Varma, Jaelyn Edwards, David Townsend, and Kirstin Keefe), and Professor James Wilets of Florida’s Nova Southeastern University Law Center, which also provided student assistance.

11. Who, exactly, are the Petitioners?

The Petitioners in this case are two young gay men from Jamaica who will challenge the Jamaican anti-sodomy law on behalf of themselves and other LGBT. They have experienced constant and serious human rights abuses because of their sexual orientation, and believe that these violations stem from the legalized violence and discrimination against them (and people like them), as authorized by the anti- gay law. Their names and identities are being withheld from all documents relating to this challenge that are publicly available.

12. Why are the Petitioners’ names and identities kept secret?

The Petitioners have courageously come forward to challenge the law, understanding the risk that if their role in this legal challenge were to become public, they and possibly their families could be subjected to even more harassment, abuse, violence, and discrimination than before. To be homosexual in Jamaica is dangerous, and to be openly and publicly homosexual is to live under constant threat. Consequently, the Petitioners have requested that the IACHR keep their identities anonymous for all public purposes.

13. What has AIDS-Free World done to help the Petitioners (besides representing them in this
legal challenge)?

AIDS-Free World has worked closely with the Petitioners and with others in their position to try to get the government of Jamaica to redress abuses they have experienced in the past and to prevent future abuses. AIDS-Free World has helped the Petitioners to report the violations they have experienced to the Jamaican government, when they chose to do so.

14. If the Petitioners fear for their safety, what has AIDS-Free World done to protect them?

AIDS-Free World has informed the IACHR about the serious safety risks the Petitioners face, and has asked the IACHR to contact the government of Jamaica directly and urge officials there to take measures to protect the petitioners. This formal process, applied in cases of extreme threat, is known as a request to grant “precautionary measures.” The IACHR responded positively to AIDS-Free World’s request, and in turn requested that the Jamaican government adopt precautionary measures on behalf of the Petitioners. Unfortunately, the government of Jamaica has yet to respond to the IACHR. AIDS-Free World periodically asks the IACHR to renew its request that the Jamaican government protect the Petitioners, and the organization will continue to ask until the government responds.

15. What exactly is the IACHR authorized to do?

The IACHR promotes and protects human rights in the Americas region. It does this through various activities, including:
•    Undertaking site visits either to examine the general human rights situation or to investigate specific instances of human rights abuses in a country;
•    Publishing reports and studies about human rights issues in particular countries;
•    Convening meetings, seminars and conferences to discuss a range of human rights topics;
•    Suggesting that countries adopt particular measures to promote human rights;
•    Urging governments to take precautionary measures to protect specific individuals who are at risk;
•    Receiving and reviewing individual complaints (petitions) regarding human rights abuses occurring in countries in the region; and,
•    Interacting with the Inter-American Court on Human Rights by referring cases to the Court, if warranted, and by seeking advisory opinions from the Court on questions of interpretation of the American Convention on Human Rights (see question #18, below).

16. What is a “petition” filed at the IACHR?

A petition is a specific complaint lodged by an individual, a group of people, or an organization, alleging violations of human rights in a particular country. The IACHR has the authority to review petitions that claim that a government has failed to fulfill its human rights obligations described in the American Convention on Human Rights or other regional human rights treaties. A petition is similar to a “complaint” in a legal case, in that it must describe:
•    The parties who are bringing the complaint (the “petitioners”),
•    The people who are harmed by the violations (the “victims”),
•    The efforts those petitioners have made to seek redress in domestic courts,
•    The specific violations that have occurred, and
•    The reasons why the particular government is responsible for those alleged violations.

17. On what basis are the Petitioners and AIDS-Free World challenging the Jamaican “anti-
sodomy” law?

AIDS-Free World is helping the Petitioners in this case to challenge the law on the grounds that it violates numerous rights that are protected under an international treaty called the American Convention on Human Rights. Jamaica is a party to the American Convention on Human Rights, and, therefore, it is legally required to abide by the treaty’s obligations.

18. What is the American Convention on Human Rights?

The American Convention on Human Rights (American Convention) is an international multilateral treaty. A treaty is essentially an agreement between two or more countries, and when more than two countries sign it, it is “multilateral.” When a country’s government “ratifies” or becomes a “party” to a treaty, this means that the government has agreed to be legally bound by all of the obligations described in the treaty. Countries in the Americas region can become party to the American Convention, and if they do, the IACHR and the Inter-American Court on Human Rights are charged with assessing whether those parties have complied with the treaty.
The American Convention lists and describes the different obligations of countries that are party to it, and also describes the various rights that citizens in those countries can expect their governments to protect, respect, and fulfill. Many of the rights enumerated in the American Convention reflect the rights described in other international treaties, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, or the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.

19. What rights in the American Convention does Jamaica’s “anti-sodomy law” violate?

Some of the rights that AIDS-Free World and its legal team have asserted are violated by Jamaica’s anti-sodomy law and contained in the American Convention are the rights to:
• Life
• Humane treatment
• Privacy
• Freedom of expression and association
• Rights of the family
• Freedom of movement and residence
• Right to participate in government
• Right to health

20. What is the ultimate goal of this legal challenge?

With this petition, AIDS-Free World is asking the IACHR to declare the “anti-sodomy law” in violation of international human rights standards, and recommend to the Jamaican government that it reform the law so that it no longer criminalizes same-sex sexual conduct. Essentially, AIDS-Free World wants the IACHR to inform the Jamaican government that it is not acceptable to criminalize homosexual sex through its laws.
We expect that the IACHR will find that Jamaica’s anti-sodomy law directly violates or contributes to violations of rights protected under the American Convention on Human Rights. Numerous international bodies already have ruled that similar laws around the world violate human rights such as privacy, protection from cruel and inhuman treatment as well as the right to freedom of expression.

21. Is the Jamaican government obligated to listen to the IACHR?

Although the Jamaican government is obligated to participate in the proceedings before the IACHR, it is not legally bound by the decision or recommendations that the IACHR makes. The IACHR is not a court with authority to make legal decisions that Jamaica must honor, so its decisions have less force than those of other courts.

22. If Jamaica is not obligated to listen to the Inter-American Commission, why not go to the
Inter-American Court?

In order for the Inter-American Court to have authority (also known as jurisdiction) to hear cases complaining of specific violations in countries in the Americas, a country has to agree to the Court’s jurisdiction. Jamaica has refused to agree to the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court, which means that the Court is not authorized to hear cases of human rights violations involving Jamaica.

23. What, then, is the purpose of the IACHR petition, if it doesn’t result in a legally binding
decision against the government of Jamaica?

Although an IACHR decision against the government of Jamaica will not be binding, it will be very embarrassing for the country internationally and, if ignored, will have immediate negative implications for Jamaica’s reputation. This is an especially serious issue for the country because Jamaica relies on international goodwill for tourism, its main foreign exchange earner. If the Jamaican government ignores the IACHR decision, it is possible for the OAS General Assembly (which is the main legislative body for that regional body, the Organization of American States) to consider whether countries in the region want to take action and sanction Jamaica. Jamaica is a highly indebted developing nation and the government depends heavily on donor funds to supplement the national budget. Sanctions would make it very challenging for the government to meet its obligations. In an earlier case before the IACHR against Jamaica, the IACHR decided that the government of Jamaica should pay compensation to victims of illegal killings by police, and Jamaica paid. The fact that the Jamaican government abided by the decision of the IACHR before suggests that it will do so again.

24. What does this case mean for other countries in the Americas (and is the IACHR’s decision
binding upon them)?

Decisions of the IACHR do not serve as “precedent” for subsequent cases at the IACHR (even if the facts or issues are similar) in the same way that decisions from court cases often dictate the decisions in later, similar cases. Nonetheless, the IACHR regularly refers to its previous decisions when hearing matters of a similar nature. In this case, the decision will be highly persuasive for the protection of human rights of homosexuals across the Caribbean, North, Central and South America.

25. Why is this case important?

For the Petitioners
AIDS-Free World has brought this petition to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the Petitioners (and others like them). Despite the fact that the IACHR urged the government of Jamaica to adopt precautionary measures to protect the Petitioners, the Jamaican government has so far failed to protect them from ongoing human rights violations. In addition, their access to potentially life-saving HIV and AIDS-related prevention, testing, treatment, and support services continues to be restricted by the very existence of the Jamaican law. A favorable decision in this case would provide Petitioners with more tools and greater leverage to demand that the government of Jamaica protect their safety and their health.

For the Caribbean
Eleven English-speaking countries in the Caribbean still criminalize homosexual sex, and all of them are subject to the Inter-American system for the protection of human rights. Within these countries, homosexuals like the Petitioners are regularly exposed to human rights violations as a result of their countries’ laws. Despite domestic and international pressure, the governments of these countries steadfastly have refused to repeal the laws on the grounds that they legitimately reflect local cultures and beliefs. The AIDS-Free World petition, therefore, will be crucial in determining whether the Commission believes that anti-sodomy laws violate the human rights principles articulated in the American Convention. If that determination is made, all other countries in the region in which similar laws exist will find themselves in violation of the American Convention as well, unless they eliminate those laws.

For other regions
Most regions of the world (with the exception of Asia) have regional human rights bodies similar to the IACHR and/or Inter-American Court on Human Rights. While these other regional human rights bodies, such as the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, are not bound by decisions coming out of the IACHR, they likely will look to these decisions when they are confronted with similar issues. Criminalization of same-sex sexual conduct and the abuse of the human rights of homosexuals exist in many African countries. Consequently, legal challenges to African anti-sodomy (or similar) laws in the African regional human rights bodies will benefit from a positive decision in the IACHR.

For the world
The UN Human Rights Council, which is the primary body in the UN dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights, recently asked the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to report on the state of human rights for homosexuals around the world. This petition highlights the role of law in contributing to human rights abuses against homosexuals, and therefore, will be of interest (and use) to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

For the fight against HIV
The UN Global Commission on HIV and the Law is reviewing the effects of law on the spread of HIV amongst MSM. One of the chief arguments in this case, that Jamaica’s anti-sodomy law contributes to the 32% HIV prevalence rate among Jamaican MSM as compared to 1.6% in the general population, will be a key factor for the Commission’s final report.

For the development of international law
Many national or local domestic courts regularly look to decisions from international human rights bodies when deciding human rights cases. The decision in this case, therefore, will help to build a body of law that domestic courts within the region and around the world can draw on to address current and future challenges to anti-sodomy laws. For example, in Belize, where the country’s anti-sodomy law is no longer protected in the constitution, a challenge to the law is expected to have its first hearing in December 2011. No doubt the Belizean court will note with interest the AIDS-Free World petition before the IACHR. This is especially likely since, as of January 2012, one of the new IACHR Commissioners who will hear the AIDS-Free World petition is from Belize. Other jurisdictions within the Caribbean, such as Guyana, are also hearing similar cases about laws that discriminate against homosexuals. A ruling from the IACHR certainly will factor into their decisions.

The IACHR Petition Process

26. How long does a petition take to be processed?

The processing of a petition at the IACHR goes through various stages that allow both the petitioners and the country’s government sufficient time and opportunity to fully advise the IACHR about the human rights situation inspiring the petition. This can be a lengthy process and may take years, though something far shorter is also possible. The length of time depends on various factors, such as the number of petitions being heard by the IACHR, the responsiveness of the government and the petitioners to the IACHR’s requests for information, the seriousness of the human rights violations alleged in the Petition, and other questions that may arise.

27. What is the process by which the IACHR decides upon a petition?

A petition will normally go through the following process:
a)    The IACHR reviews a petition and determines whether that petition actually alleges a violation of the American Convention or another treaty about which the IACHR has authority to hear complaints.
b)    The IACHR assigns a case number to that petition and begins to process it as a case.
c)    The IACHR may decide that the petition doesn’t meet procedural requirements, and decide that it will not review the petition. It is also possible that the IACHR may decide that no rights have been violated, and may dismiss the petition.
d)    When a case is opened and a number is assigned, the relevant parts of the petition are sent to the government with a request for information.
e)    Throughout the processing of the case, each party (petitioner and government) is asked to comment on the responses of the other. The IACHR also may carry out its own investigations, conduct site visits, or request specific information from the parties.
f)    The IACHR might hold a hearing, in which both parties would be present and asked to set forth their legal and factual arguments.
g)    In almost every case, the IACHR will offer to help the parties to negotiate a “friendly settlement” if they so desire. If the parties agree to a friendly settlement, the IACHR will not issue a final decision.
h)    When the parties have provided the IACHR and each other with comprehensive information, including legal briefs and supporting evidence, and when the IACHR decides that it has sufficient information, the processing of a case is completed.
i)    The IACHR then prepares a confidential report with its conclusions and general recommendations to the government.
j)    The Commission gives the government a period of time to resolve the situation and to comply with the recommendations of the IACHR.
k)    Once this time period has expired, the IACHR may prepare a second report, which is similar to the initial report, but also contains conclusions and recommendations.
l)    The IACHR may then give the government more time to resolve the situation and to comply with the recommendations of the IACHR.
m) At the end of this second period granted to the government, the IACHR usually will publish its report. This is particularly true if the government fails to comply with the IACHR’s recommendations. If the government ultimately cooperates, the IACHR may decide not to publish its report.

28. What will happen to the Petitioners in the meantime?

On September 21, 2011, the IACHR asked the government of Jamaica, upon AIDS-Free World’s request, to adopt precautionary measures to protect the Petitioners from harm. Unfortunately, the government of Jamaica has failed to contact the Petitioners or their representatives to discuss potential protective measures. In the meantime, the Petitioners remain in danger of human rights violations and have altered their lives to avoid harassment, discrimination, and abuse.

29. Whom do I contact for more information about this petition?

AIDS Free World:
Maurice Tomlinson, Esq.
Legal Advisor, Marginalized Groups
AIDS-Free World
Montego Bay, Jamaica W.I.
Tel: 1.876.952.3688
Email: mat@aidsfreeworld.org

Betsy Apple, Esq.
Legal Director and General Counsel
AIDS-Free World
155 Water Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Tel: 1.212.729.5084
Email: ba@aidsfreeworld.org

View the press release about the IACHR petition here.

Download a copy of this Q&A here (PDF, 226KB)