Widespread violence in Jamaica has driven some LGBT youth to live in the sewers of the capital, Kingston, after they fled violence in their home communities. A Human Rights Watch report released Tuesday shows that police do little to protect LGBT people when they do report violence. Police are known to have made arrests in only four of the 56 cases Human Rights Watch documented, and more than half of those interviewed who had been attacked said they were too afraid of retaliation or of being outed to even report assaults.
The Jamaican government is now in the midst of reviewing the Sexual Offenses Act in a process that the country's justice minister, Mark Golding, told BuzzFeed News last year might be a vehicle for repealing the country's sodomy law. But although Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller has endorsed repeal of the law criminalizing homosexuality, she has also said doing so must be "based on the will of the
constituents" and is "not a priority." A challenge to the law pending before Jamaica's highest court was withdrawn in August by the plaintiff, Javed Jaghai, because of threats against his family.
A new video from Human Rights Watch documents the widespread threat of violence towards LGBT people, where there are an average of almost 60 anti-LGBT assaults each year.
J. Lester Feder is a world correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC. His secure PGP fingerprint is 2353 DB68 8AA6 92BD 67B8 94DF 37D8 0A6F D70B 7211
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