Jamaica ― Human Rights Committee ― Death Penalty ― Sept. 2011
The Advocates for Human Rights in collaboration with The World Coalition Against the Death Penalty has submitted a shadow report to the U.N. Human Rights Committee regarding Jamaica’s compliance with its international legal obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (the “ICCPR”). The shadow report shows how the living conditions on Jamaica’s death row violate Article 7 of the ICCPR, which prohibits inhuman and degrading treatment. Such conditions include overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, and inadequate medical treatment. The Advocates’ report is particularly important in light of Jamaica’s 2011 Constitutional amendment curtailing death row inmates’ rights to review of their conditions by external bodies, such as UN treaty bodies.
Since 2003, case law and legislation eliminated the mandatory death penalty for murder convictions and required that a death sentence must be commuted to life imprisonment if the inmate has been on death row for more than five years. As a result, there are now just eight persons on death row. However, as the report discusses, recent constitutional amendments have eroded earlier legal reforms. Such amendments include a new charter stating that the execution of a death sentence does not violate the constitution by reason of the length of time the inmate is on death row.
The recommendations urge Jamaica to:
The report was drafted by volunteer Julie Boehmke of Gray Plant Mooty
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