Jamaica violence - not an excuse to abandon human rights

It’s been nearly a week since the violence in the beautifully-named Tivoli Gardens in Jamaica escalated, and still the situation is not under control.

The Voice of America reports that the death toll has now reached 73 and hundreds of people have been rounded up and detained and druglord Dudus Coke remains on the run.

Amnesty has called for a thorough investigation into the deaths during this period of unrest, pointing to the fact that so far a comparatively low number of firearms have been seized from civilians in comparison to the number of people killed.

In the past police tactics in Jamaica have been pretty heavy-handed.

Last year police killed more than 250 people – a high number but one which the police would defend as necessary response to the high rates of violence in the region.

But Amnesty has found that the virtual absence of injuries or fatalities of police officers, combined with eyewitness testimonies and other evidence, suggest many killings have involved excessive or arbitrary use of force by the police, in many cases amounting to unlawful killings.
 
Although it is not fully clear on the details on all those killed and detained, Amnesty is urging the authorities to ensure that they uphold standards according to international human rights law. A state of emergency is not an excuse to ignore human rights.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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