Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, A/HRC/16/44/Add.1, 28 February 2011: Jamaica
Letter of allegations
1366. On 1 December 2010, the Special Rapporteur sent a letter of allegations to the Government concerning the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J- FLAG), a human rights lobby group which advocates equal rights for lesbian, gay, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons in Jamaica. The organisation was previously the subject of a Joint Allegation Letter sent by the then Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders and the then Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression on 6 December 2004. As of today, no response has been received by the part of your Excellency’s Government.
1367. According to the information received, on 16 November 2010, J-FLAG was refused permission to hold a meeting regarding LGBTI issues and human rights at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston.
1368. It is reported that on 11 November 2010, J-FLAG made a booking with the said hotel to hold a meeting, on 18 November 2010, with similar organisations and stakeholders with a view to examining LGBTI-related human rights issues in Jamaica. However, on 16 November 2010, the Executive Director of J-FLAG was informed via a telephone call from the hotel’s Director of Sales and Marketing that due to the nature of the work carried out by J-FLAG, the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel was unwilling to allow the meeting to take place on its premises. It is alleged that this marks a change in policy on the part of the hotel, which had previously hosted groups including LGBTI persons.
Response from the Government
1369. In a letter dated 31 January 2010, the Government responded to the communication dated 1 December 2010.
1370. The allegation by J-FLAG of the refusal of the Pegasus Hotel to honour a reservation to hold a meeting was investigated by the Government. The investigations revealed that the information communicated by J-FLAG to you appears to be factual. The Hotel’s decision was related to a number of concerns, which included the need to protect both the meeting attendees and the hotel, as a prior event hosted by a pro-gay group was marred by unsatisfactory behaviour.
1371. Following the incident, a meeting was convened between J-FLAG and the hotel where an amicable agreement was reached on future arrangements, The parties agreed that a designed member of the hotel staff would address reservation requests from J-FLAG and on confirmation of such requests, consultations will be done on the tilting and listing of the event on the hotel’s notice board.
1372. The Special Rapporteur wishes to thank the Government for responding to her communication dated 1 December 2010. The Special Rapporteur encourages the Government to take the necessary measures to ensure the existence of an environment which is conducive to the work of all human rights defenders.
Link to full text of the report: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/defenders/docs/A.HRC.16.44.Add.1_EFSonly.pdf