8. While welcoming the adoption of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms in April 2011, the Committee regrets that the right to freedom from discrimination is now expressed on the grounds of “being male or female”, failing to prohibit discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Committee is also concerned that the State party continues to retain provisions under the Offences against the Person Act which criminalize consensual same-sex relationships, thus promoting discrimination against homosexuals. The Committee further regrets reports of virulent lyrics by musicians and entertainers that incite violence against homosexuals (arts. 2, 16, 26).

The State party should amend its laws with a view to prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity. The State party should also decriminalize sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex, in order to bring its legislation into line with the Covenant and put an end to prejudices and the social stigmatization of homosexuality. In this regard, the State party should send a clear message that it does not tolerate any form of harassment, discrimination or violence against persons for their sexual orientation, and should ensure that individuals, who incite violence against homosexuals, are investigated, prosecuted and properly sanctioned.

9. The Committee regrets reports of prevalent societal stigmatization of people with HIV/AIDS, which conflates HIV/AIDS with homosexuality. The Committee is concerned that this stigmatization, which is partly fuelled by the laws that criminalize consensual same-sex relationships, hampers access to treatment and medical care by persons living with HIV/AIDS, including homosexuals (arts. 2, 6 and 26)

The State party should take concrete measures to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS with a view to combating prejudices and negative stereotypes against people living with HIV/AIDS, including homosexuals. The State party should also ensure that persons living with HIV/AIDS, including homosexuals, have equal access to medical care and treatment.

Link to full text of the report: Concluding Observations-CCPR-Jamaica-2011-eng

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