Gangs violate human rights too- Jamaica

Gangs violate human rights Jamaica
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Gangs violate human rights too- Jamaica

The proliferation of gangs, if left unchecked, spells disaster for Jamaica.

I have watched the various contributions and proposed solutions to the crime problem in Jamaica and it has occurred to me that the human rights groups are primarily concerned with the rights of those who fall into the hands of the police and are subjected to human rights abuses by agents of the State.

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I support the existence of these watchdogs and believe they play a significant role in reining in the excesses of the security forces.

However, I have difficulty with the fact that human rights groups don’t see gangs as non-state actors who violate the rights of and terrorise communities with violence and depravity. In fact, they terrorise the entire society, and people feel frustrated, sad, angry, and afraid because of the many vicious, vile, and cruel acts committed by these non-state actors.

I see gangs as powerful non-state actors. I see them as enemies of the State. I see their growth in numbers and power as a looming disaster for Jamaican society. We are heading in the direction of Honduras and El Salvador as long as gangs roam free.

By using extortion backed by firepower and threats of arson and death, these non-state actors levy taxes on buses, taxis, market vendors, clothing store owners, hardware stores, and construction sites. These non-state actors extort every situation in which they suspect or know that money is being exchanged. Their tax collection yields enormous sums of money, which they use to buy arms to become bigger non-state actors.

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These gangs engage in international trade in violation of customs laws and national security interests by illegally exporting ganja in exchange for arms. They have arms-dealing subsidiaries to keep themselves well armed for carrying out attacks against the State, their perceived enemies, or relatives and neigbours of their enemies. They also run kangaroo courts, where they pass sentence on the ‘guilty’.

It will be interesting to see whether the human rights groups come to recognise that they have an inviolable duty to protect the right to life and freedom of movement of entire communities which are plagued by the these gangs.

If these non-state actors prevent the State’s security forces from protecting the human rights of law-abiding people in communities – the right to be free of threats of violence for participating in civic life by giving statements to the police, the right to be free of arbitrary shooting when the non-state actors war among themselves, and the right to protect the freedom of young girls to refuse sex with non-state actors – then it is time the human rights advocates scrutinise the human rights records of these individuals.

If the human rights advocates continue to treat the human rights of non-state actors as more important than those of the people in communities who want to live in peace and quiet and continue to disregard the fact that these non-state actors violate the human rights of communities on a daily basis, they will eventually lose support.

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I think human rights advocates need to see these non-state actors as obstacles to the protection of the human rights of ordinary Jamaicans.

Martha Brae

Gangs are non-state actors who violate human rights  Jamaica Observer

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One thought on “Gangs violate human rights too- Jamaica

  1. Kassa Walker mechanic, charged for police shoot-out | Site Nestor August 5, 2022 at 8:41 pm

    […] Gangs violate human rights too- Jamaica […]

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