The Human Rights lobby group, Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) says despite the best of intentions, the present special security measures have not adhered to the country’s laws.

According to the JFJ, since the declaration of the State of Public Emergency in January this year, national stakeholders and public institutions have produced evidence of serious challenges with the implementation of the special security measure.

The JFJ says the concerns that have been raised were never intended to be an attack on the
necessary crime-fighting that Jamaica needs. But, the human rights lobby says the concerns were raised in good-faith in an attempt to ensure that security operations did not unintentionally harm the very persons they were intended to help.

The JFJ says clear evidence of problems has been repeatedly rejected and misrepresented as an attack on the government’s crime plan.

The human rights lobby says it fully supports lawful and legitimate crime-fighting measures that dismantle criminal networks and restore peace and security to Jamaica. It says every Jamaican has a human right to life, to feel safe, and live peacefully. But, in addition to those rights, the JFJ says every Jamaican has the right to be protected from state abuse and illegal detention by the security forces. It says as a mature society, Jamaica should never trade one set of protections for another.

The JFJ says the government must ensure that people are protected from abuse, that certain institutions set up to protect people are functional and actually work, and that the State of Public Emergency does not go on indefinitely.

The JFJ also says that it deeply regrets that the country’s political leaders remain unable to agree on a crime-fighting strategy that is lawful, sustainable and does not hurt powerless Jamaicans.