Head of state: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Patrick Linton Allen
Head of government: Portia Simpson Miller

Police brutality remained a concern. Attacks and harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people continued. Steps were taken to deal with the issue of impunity. Jamaica retained the death penalty.


Levels of homicide remained high, mainly in marginalized inner-city communities, although there was a decrease on 2013 figures. The Jamaica Constabulary Force reported that 699 people had been killed up to 14 September, 15% fewer than in the corresponding period for 2013.

Police and security forces

Following rising numbers in police killings in recent years (210 in 2011, 219 in 2012 and 258 in 2013), 2014 saw a reduction in the number of police killings according to the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM), an independent police oversight agency. By the end of October, 103 civilians had been killed by police, compared with 220 for the same period in 2013. A number of people were killed in circumstances suggesting that they may have been extrajudicially executed.

Following the death of Mario Deane in suspicious circumstances in police custody in August, in September the Ministers of Justice and National Security announced a review of the detention system in order to "develop a strategic response to the issue of the treatment of persons in lock-ups and correctional facilities".

The Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organizations) Act, which is aimed at "disruption and suppression of criminal organizations" became law in April. Concerns were raised that this law could be used to criminalize whole communities by association.

In February a Commission of Enquiry was finally established into the state of emergency of May 2010, when 76 civilians were killed during an operation by the security forces. The three-person Commission began its work on 1 December. In April the Office of the Public Defender handed over all files pertaining to its investigations into the state of emergency to INDECOM. The files include the cases of 44 people alleged to have been unlawfully killed by the security forces.

Eleven police officers from Clarendon suspected of being part of a "death squad" were arrested and charged in April by INDECOM. They were alleged to have been involved in the murder of nine civilians since 2009. Investigations were ongoing at the end of the year.

Justice system

Overburdened courts led to continued delays in the justice system. In February, the National Security Minister stated there was a backlog of approximately 40,000 cases. In June, the Chief Justice said that the unavailability of forensic evidence, outstanding statements and ballistic reports, as well as an absence of adequate court infrastructure, human and financial resources, were seriously hampering the justice system.

Violence against women and girls

Sexual violence against women and girls remained a concern. Police statistics from the 2013 Economic and Social Survey published in April 2014 by the Planning Institute of Jamaica showed that 814 cases of rape were recorded in 2013, and that 128 women were murdered in 2013.

A review of the draft National Strategic Action Plan to Eliminate Gender-Based Violence, announced in September 2013, was still ongoing at the end of 2014.

Following a Senate motion in October 2013 calling for greater legislative protection for women and girls, a joint select committee of Parliament was finally established in July 2014 to review the Sexual Offences Act, Offences against the Person Act, Domestic Violence Act, and the Child Care and Protection Act, with the objective of improving protection for women, children, persons living with disabilities and the elderly from violence and abuse.

Children's rights

Children continued to be kept in police cells alongside adults, in some cases for several days, in contravention of the Child Care and Protection Act and international law.

Rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people

Consensual sex between men remained criminalized. LGBTI organizations continued to report attacks, harassment and threats against individuals based on their real or perceived sexual orientation, which were not fully and promptly investigated.

On 14 June a mob attacked a young man at a shopping mall in the town of May Pen because he was allegedly seen putting on lipstick. There was no police investigation into the incident.

In August, Javed Jaghai, a member of the Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays, discontinued the constitutional challenge he had filed in February 2013 against laws criminalizing sex between men, following the receipt of threats against him and his family.

A "conscience vote" by MPs on legislation criminalizing consensual same-sex relations, which the government announced would be held before April, did not take place.

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