Laws

JAMAICA

Limited information only available for these topics

Access to Children
Adoption of Children
Age of Consent
Anti-Vilification
Artifical Insemination
Assisted Reproduction
Asylum / Refugees
Censorship
  Civil Unions
Custody of Children
Discrimination
Fostering Children
Gender Identity
Harassment
Hate Crimes
  HIV/Aids
Homosexuality
Immigration
Inheritance
In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)
Marriage
Military
  Parenting
Partners
Property
Sodomy
Transgender, Transsexual
Violence
Wrongful Death

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Asylum, Immigration, Refugees Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Courts & Tribunals

In October 2002, two gay Jamaican men were granted asylum in the United Kingdom on the grounds that their lives are in danger because of "severe homophobia" in their home country [R1.1]

R1.1 The Advocate: U.K. Grants Asylum to Gay Jamaicans 15 OCT 02
Censorship, Freedom of Expression, Free Speech, Right of Assembly Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Courts & Tribunals

On 14 November 2013, Justices Paulette Williams, Bryan Sykes and Leighton Pusey in the Constitutional Court dismissed a law suit against three television stations that refused to screen a paid for public service announcement promoting tolerance of gays and lesbians [C1.2], [R1.1]

C1.2 Case: Maurice Tomlinson v TVJ, CVM and PBCJ
R1.1 GayStarNews: Court rules Jamaican TV channels can refuse to screen gay rights PSA 17 NOV 13
Discrimination Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Courts & Tribunals

In October 2000, evidence was adduced in the UK of machete attacks, murders, and threats against gay people in Jamaica and reinforced by concern about the lyrics of some of the country's leading reggae music stars. One recent hit record in Jamaica advocated "burning queers," while others have called for the shooting and battering to death of lesbians and gay men. [R1.1]

R1.1 The Advocate: U.K. Grants Asylum to Gay Jamaicans 15 OCT 02
Gender Identity, Intersex,
Transgender, Transexual

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Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

On 21-22 June 2013, Dwayne Jones, a 16-year-old gay gender non-conforming person, was reportedly brutally murdered by an angry mob in Jamaica after attending a party in women's clothing [R1.1].

R1.1 Human Rights Watch: Jamaica: Cross-Dressing Teenager Murdered 01 AUG 13

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Homosexuality, Sodomy Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

As at May 2008, the criminal law in Jamaica prohibits consensual sex between male same-sex couples, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison with hard labor [R1.1].

The Offences Against the Person Act provides -

Article 76 (Unnatural Crime)

"Whosoever shall be convicted of the abominable crime of buggery [anal intercourse] committed either with mankind or with any animal, shall be liable to be imprisoned and kept to hard labour for a term not exceeding ten years."

Article 77 (Attempt)

"Whosoever shall attempt to commit the said abominable crime, or shall be guilty of any assault with intent to commit the same, or of any indecent assault upon any male person, shall be guilty of a misdemeanour, and being convicted thereof shall be liable to be imprisoned for a term not exceeding seven years, with or without hard labour."

Article 78 (Proof of Carnal Knowledge)

"Whenever upon the trial of any offence punishable under this Act, it may be necessary to prove carnal knowledge, it shall not be necessary to prove the actual emission of seed in order to constitute a carnal knowledge, but the carnal knowledge shall be deemed complete upon proof of penetration only."

Article 79 (Outrages on Decency)

"Any male person who, in public or private, commits, or is a party to the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and being convicted thereof shall be liable at the discretion of the court to be imprisoned for a term not exceeding 2 years, with or without hard labour" [R1.1].

The law is silent in regard to consensual sex between female couples [R1.2].


In March 2009, Prime Minister Bruce Golding said that the country will not decriminalise homosexual acts and that he has a duty to "protect" the country [R1.3].


In December 1998, Justice Minister K.D. Knight dismissed calls from homosexuals for the government to abolish laws declaring homosexuality illegal [R1.4].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

On 06 July 2016, the Supreme Court granted the applications by nine religious groups to be added as interested parties in a challenge by Jamaican lawyer Maurice Tomlinson to the country's anti-sodomy law, but denied the application of the Public Defender, who is expected to apply for leave to appeal the decision [R2.5].

On 27 November 2015 Maurice Tomlinson reportedly filed a law suit in the Supreme Court seeking to have the buggery law nullified in all cases of adult consensual sex, which is currently punishable by up to 10 years in prison and hard labor, as well as requiring those convicted to register as sex offenders. The first procedural hearing of the case for 23 February 2016 [R2.4].

On 25 June 2013, Justice Carol Edwards in the Supreme Court set 04 October for the hearing of an application by gay rights activist Javed Jaghai who is seeking to challenge the buggery law, giving him until July 5 to amend his affidavit after it was found to contain hearsay and aspects not directly related to the claimant and the Attorney General until 16 September to file and serve an affidavit response [R2.3].

On 07 February 2013, AIDS-Free World filed a claim in the Supreme Court on behalf of Javed Jaghai, seeking a declaration that the anti-sodomy law no longer applies to private acts of intimacy between consenting adult males. The first hearing of the case will take place on 04 October 2013 (previously 25 June 2013) [R2.2].

On 31 May 2012, the Human Dignity Trust lodged a petition on behalf of Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) and Mr Gareth Henry before the IACHR (Case Reference No. P-1850-11) in order to seek (without limitation) a declaration from the Commission to the effect that the maintenance and enforcement of certain laws by Jamaica in relation to private consensual sexual conduct by adult males breach Jamaica's obligations under international law [R2.1].

R1.1 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia May 2008
R1.2 ILGA: Annual Report 1996 - Part II 1996
R1.3 PinkNews.co.uk: Jamaican PM will not "yield to pressure" on gay rights 04 MAR 09
R1.4 Reuters: Jamaica Says Will Not Abolish Ban on Homosexuality 16 DEC 98
2. Courts & Tribunals
R2.5 CanadianHIV/AIDSLegalNetwork (News Release): Jamaican Supreme Court Admits Religious Groups as Interested Parties in Challenge to Anti-Sodomy Law PDF 15.88kb, 08 JUL 16
R2.4 BuzzFeed: This Man Is Challenging Jamaica's Ban On Homosexuality 09 DEC 15
R2.3 Go-Jamaica: Buggery law challenge: Hearing pushed back to October 4 25 JUN 13
R2.2 GayStarNews: Gay student challenges Jamaica’s anti-sodomy law 13 FEB 13
R2.1 Human Dignity Trust: Jamaica: Petition before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) 16 OCT 12
Violence: Bullying, Domestic Violence, Harassment, Vilification Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

On 22 August 2013, police reportedly escorted five men out of a Manchester community after angry community members, who barricaded them in a house, alleged that one of the men made unspecified comments that caused them to be concerned, especially for the area's children [R1.1].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

In October 2000, evidence was adduced in the UK of machete attacks, murders, and threats against gay people in Jamaica and reinforced by concern about the lyrics of some of the country's leading reggae music stars. One recent hit record in Jamaica advocated "burning queers," while others have called for the shooting and battering to death of lesbians and gay men. [R2.1]

R1.1 Xtra!: Jamaica: Manchester community barricades five men out of fear of homosexuality 24 AUG 13
R2.1 The Advocate: U.K. Grants Asylum to Gay Jamaicans 15 OCT 02

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