On 17 February 2021, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) published its final report in the case of Gareth Henry and Simone Carline Edwards v Jamaica. The decision was historic – for the first time, the IACHR found that homophobic, colonial-era laws that criminalise men who have sex with men contravene the American Convention on Human Rights and that the Jamaican government was responsible for violating multiple rights of the petitioners, Mr Henry and Ms Edwards. The top human rights tribunal called for the immediate repeal of the criminalising laws and made recommendations to improve the situation of LGBT people in Jamaica.
To this day, Jamaica has failed to take any material action in response to the IACHR’s findings and the clear recommendations set out in its report, or to even acknowledge the urgency of this crucial issue. Even in the face of the wave of progress experienced by its Caribbean neighbours, Jamaica’s homophobic laws remain in force. This report, developed in conjunction with Rainbow Railroad, clearly lays out how LGBT Jamaicans continue to suffer horrific levels of violence, discrimination and persecution, and lack the most basic protections under the law.