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Jamaicans for Justice

January 2012

Here we take a look at our partner Jamaicans for Justice and the work they do to support the victims of crime and injustice.

'It's a tale of two Jamaicas. If you are born middle upper class you are unlikely to face as much discrimination by police, the security forces or the bureaucratic systems,' explains Carolyn Gnomes, director of Jamaicans for Justice.

'If you grow up in a depressed community, they [the police or security forces] don't come with a search warrant, but kick down your door. One in five people in this country are killed by the security forces, and that almost exclusively happens to people in inner city communities.'

An unlawful killing

Jamaicans for Justice

Angela Harding holds a photo of her murdered son-in-law

Angela Harding is just one of those with a story to tell of extrajudicial killing. Her son-in-law was taken from his home at 5.30am and shot dead by police.

Angela describes what happened: 'That is what they did, shoot him five times, just three feet away from his children. His daughter, aged six, said "Mama, mi count the shots, five shots them shot daddy," so you know that print is in her brain forever.'

Angela heard about Jamaicans for Justice on the local radio, and went to seek their help. She knows it will be a long process, but they are working together to find answers to the murder and to find justice.

With poverty comes crime

This kind of work is vital for those for whom poverty and lack of opportunity make attacks on them by security forces much more likely and where your neighbourhood dictates your vulnerability to crime and injustice.

The work of Jamaicans for Justice aims to bring justice to people like Angela and her family. They help communities become aware of the issues through training workshops, so that people are in a far better position to lobby for much needed change.  

 

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