Humans rights still a journey for Jamaica

Letters to the Editor

Humans rights still a journey for Jamaica

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

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Dear Editor,

International Human Rights Day is an opportunity for us to reflect on our human journey in this island home we call Jamaica.

As a country seeking to create a better future for its citizens Jamaica's journey towards its 2030 vision is one which affirms the basic dignity of each and every Jamaican, but have we been true to this vision?

At the heart of the rallying cry for human rights is a cry for justice and respect. While we have made great strides, too many still suffer abuse at the hands of the State. Too many are still discriminated against. And too many still feel that they have no place in the society. This is even more so for the children who continue to be locked up for being labelled as uncontrollable.

It is from this place of disregard for the other that much of the criminality and disorder in our country spring.

But on this day, when the world stops to collectively reflect on what it means to be human we can begin to write a new story about who we are as Jamaicans and how we will choose to relate to each other.

Despite all the infrastructural development and technological advances being undertaken in Jamaica, the questions which continue to haunt us are: Will we ever get to a place where there is equal opportunity for everyone to create the life they desire for themselves? Will we ever be a developed country? Will Jamaica, in 2030, really be a place that one would choose to live, work, raise families, and do business?

With all the crime, poverty, and inequality we experience as a country, it is very difficult to believe the 2030 vision from a human rights perspective. When the social fabric of the society continues to be eroded through a lack of care and respect for the human rights of the other, when murder and mayhem continue to reign supreme, it is very difficult to believe that we are on the road to prosperity. It is indeed heartbreaking that, to a large extent, your address in this country, the family you were born into, and the colour of your skin still determines how much of the fruits of prosperity you get to enjoy. Protoje was right, “Your status a your salary…a blood money run di nation.”

As we celebrate International Human Rights Day it is difficult not to despair about our seeming lack of progress towards Vision 2030 Jamaica. Being in despair is, however, not an option, so what we can do is begin today to choose to create a better and gentler society by affirming and upholding the human rights of all Jamaicans.

Maria Carla Gullotta

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