Is it necessary to abridge individual Human Rights in the fight against crime?

By Sophia M. Paz and Mikhail A.C. Jackson    


As human rights have developed over centuries, so have its several interpretations in society, but the overall theme has always remained the same: they are rights inherent to all human beings. Based on this understanding, by definition, human rights cannot be taken away, altered, amended or abridged because they are innate and fundamental to every human being.  However, we do not live in a utopian society where an individual’s human rights can exist absolutely sans limitations, indicating that human rights must be approached as a social construct.  This does not necessarily dilute their significance or make them less real because the Continue reading


A note on the environment and the charter of fundamental rights and freedoms

By Mrs. Arlene Harrison Henry

After many years of gestation the CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS was finally passed by the Jamaican Parliament replacing Chapter 3 of the 1962 Constitution. There is no doubt that the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms expands the list of constitutionally protected human rights.

Added to the list of rights is the right to enjoy a healthy and productive environment expressed at section 13 Continue reading

A violent society in conflict with the culture of Human Rights

By Professor John Spence

My article in the last issue concentrated on the death penalty and largely addressed conventional issues. However a major concern of mine is my conviction that the strident calls for the death penalty to be carried out are an expression of violence in our society which can do us no good.

I listened recently to a “TED” talk on the internet which put forward evidence to demonstrate that human beings have become less violent over many centuries, (with reference to individual, mass or state violence). The presenter gave evidence to show that the Continue reading

Anti-gang Legislation: More cons than pros

By Yvonne McCalla Sobers

Jamaican gangs wreak havoc on the society. They steal, murder, extort, intimidate, traffic in guns and drugs, and pose as legitimate business persons. They also spread a “gangsta lifestyle” that has found its way into aspects of Jamaican culture.

The gang threat has persisted in Jamaica despite laws intended to contain gangs. Jamaica’s murder rose from 8 per 100,000 (1974) to 64 per 100,000 (2007) despite draconian Gun Court and Suppression of Crimes Acts. In addition, numbers of gangs have increased from 35 (1994) to Continue reading

The Death Penalty — A perspective from Trinidad and Tobago

By Professor John Spence 

The issue of the death penalty for convicted murderers is once more in the news. Unfortunately it has become a political issue creating difficulty for a serious discussion to be held on the justification for the imposition of this penalty and for discussing it on grounds of: enforcing the law, protecting society, justice, revenge, or on moral grounds. This topic has had world-wide discussion and the main issues can be stated and then discussed in terms of the pros and cons.

It is important to consider whether the consequences of murder are Continue reading

Human Rights for all: How the Inter-American system protects Human Rights

by Sir Clare Roberts 


I would first like to thank the Independent Jamaican Council for Human Rights and the Norman Manley Law School for inviting me to give the 2012 Annual Human Rights Lecture.  The lecture is entitled Human Rights for All:  How the Inter-American System Protects Human Rights.  Human Rights for All also just happens to be the name of a new NGO that is set up in Antigua and Barbuda for the purpose of promoting and protecting human rights.

The Inter-American system

The members of the Organization of American States adopted certain international instruments that have become the building blocks of a regional system for the promotion and protection of human rights.  That system Continue reading

Employees’ dismissal because of AIDS — an act of injustice by the employer

By Jason Shettleworth

Introduction – What Exactly is (HIV/AIDS) and how does the Disease affect the Workplace?

AIDS or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome is the eventual outcome of an infection with HIV- the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus. AIDS is not transmitted directly from one person to another through casual contact. Notwithstanding the foregoing, persons living with AIDS are subject to stigmatization and discrimination in the work place. Consequently persons living with HIV/AIDS are often deprived of many of the basic rights which others take for granted.

The discrimination which HIV infected persons face takes Continue reading

A new Caribbean initiative in the campaign against the Death Penalty

From October 17th  to 19th  a group of organizations and individuals from countries of the Greater Caribbean opposed to the application of the capital punishment participated in the International Conference on the Death Penalty in the Greater Caribbean organized in Madrid by the Community of Sant’ Edigio.

Following that event, Caribbean abolitionist organizations and individuals had a meeting in which they decided Continue reading

Reflections on my Caribbean Experience

By Daniel Suter

I arrived in July 2010, in Barbados, as the Criminal Justice Advisor to the Eastern Caribbean, with a blank canvas and no preconceptions.

I had left my job as a Specialist Prosecutor in the Organised Crime Division of the Crown Prosecution Service in London where I was advising on prosecuting some of the most dangerous criminals in England. I had previously defended for 8 years as a legal aid lawyer and wanted to bring objectivity to a role that would consider the interests of all users of the criminal justice system. My terms of reference were wide ranging with the specific Continue reading

The Caribbean Court of Justice and access to justice

In its original jurisdiction the Caribbean Court of Justice (the CCJ) is empowered to determine disputes respecting the treaty establishing the Caribbean Community. Provision is made by virtue of Article XXIV of the Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice for nationals of Contracting Parties to be allowed to appear, by leave of the Court, in proceedings where the Treaty is intended to enure to the benefit of such persons, or if Continue reading

About the death penalty project

For more than 20 years, the Death Penalty Project has worked to promote and protect the human rights of those facing the death penalty. Although the project operates in all jurisdictions where the death penalty remains an enforceable punishment, its actions are concentrated in those countries which retain the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London and in other Commonwealth countries, principally in the Caribbean, Africa and Asia.

The Project’s main objectives are to promote the restriction of the death penalty in line with international minimum legal requirements; to uphold and Continue reading