(Kingston, Jamaica —–June 8, 2008)
“J-FLAG disappointed by GOJ’s attempts to block its participation in
UN AIDS High Level meeting”
The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-sexuals and Gays, J-FLAG, is disappointed by the Jamaican government’s attempt to block its participation in a June 10 – 11 United Nations meeting in New York to review global progress on the fight against HIV and AIDS. The organisation was denied accreditation for the meeting after the government objected to its presence on an international list of non-governmental organisations. Jamaica is one of three countries that objected to their national gay and lesbian non-governmental organisations attending the meeting. The other Governments were Zimbabwe and Egypt.
and Egypt that suppress dialogue and are known for their poor human rights records is worrying.
Coming on the heels of Prime Minister Bruce Golding’s declaration on the BBC programme
HARDtalk that there was no place in his cabinet for gays, the attempt to bar J-FLAG from
participating in this meeting is even more troubling, since it does further damage to Jamaica’s
reputation on the international scene. Together with the ongoing perception that some of the
country’s Dancehall artistes routinely incite violence against gays and lesbians, this interference on the part of the government further cements the view that Jamaica is a country where the silencing of gays and lesbians is not only preached by cultural icons but actively supported by the government.
the right to advocate and press its concerns in national and international forums. Further, it views the right to voice, especially where there is disagreement, as a fundamental principle in any democratic society. J-FLAG therefore considers the attempt to bar it from participation in the UN meeting as a violation of the right to expression and a hostile move against all civil society.
Jason McFarlane, Programmes Manager, J-FLAG
Tel: (876) 978-8988