“J-FLAG disappointed by GOJ’s attempts to block its participation in

For immediate release
(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.

That the government of Jamaica should find itself on a list alongside countries such as Zimbabwe
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.

As a legally registered human rights non governmental organisation, J-FLAG believes that it has
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.

J-FLAG is particularly disappointed because the government itself has acknowledged that homophobia fuels the HIV epidemic and this attempt at silencing J-FLAG, Jamaica’s leading LGBT organisation, further undermines the country’s efforts to combat HIV.

Like our Dancehall artistes, the government has been willing to risk tarnishing the country’s name on the international stage in such quick succession indicating that it will stop at nothing to make its gay and lesbian citizens into pariahs. J-FLAG reminds the government that this is not only contrary to the democratic traditions it claims to uphold but also contrary to the interests of the country. It also calls on the government to desist from its illogical targeting of gays and lesbians for discrimination.

Jason McFarlane, Programmes Manager, J-FLAG
Tel: (876) 978-8988
Email: admin@jflag.org

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Author: GLBTQ Jamaica Moderator

Activist and concerned gay man in Jamaica with over 19 years experience in advocacy and HIV/AIDS prevention work, LGBT DJ since 1996.

1 thought on ““J-FLAG disappointed by GOJ’s attempts to block its participation in”

  1. At this late stage, I am not sure why JFLAG would be disappointed. You should be expecting such responses, and be elated, since it means that you would also have a few game plans in mind to deal with the government. Although the Ja. gov’t changed its mind, don’t assume for a minute that you will be automatically granted space to speak and participate in the UN meetings. You will have to figure out how to get that space. Frankly, this is also not the first time that JFLAG appears unprepared for what it is up against. Unless something in the organization changes and soon, political naivete will be the death of this organization, for sure.

    Like

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