I was really sorry to read Robert Morgan’s statement in the The Gleaner on Sunday, July 3, 2022 questioning “whether any human rights group attended Wednesday’s candlelight vigil in honour of a mother and her four children who were hacked to death last week”.
The murder of a mother and her four young children is the most horrendous crime I can think about. I am a mother of four and that night I felt it, deeply, and tried to call all of them.
By stating that human rights groups defended criminals you have decided to ignore how much we share pain, how much we deal with it every day with those coming to us seeking help.
I had chosen not to go to the candlelight vigil because that family had the right to mourn, to be held tight by its community without any risk that an outsider’s presence could bring tension and divert attention to rage, to confrontations, while the family and its sorrow was in need of being respected.
We, the human rights people, daily defend the most vulnerable people, the victims who have nobody to help them. Stand up For Jamaica, in the last year, has assisted 190 raped, violated, battered women, offering legal representation, basic social help, counselling, and sometimes money out of our pockets, and ensured that perpetrators were brought in front of a court.
We protect abused children, juveniles at risk, incarcerated mentally ill, homeless, desperate people who cannot afford to pay rent, who have lost jobs and families, who are left behind in their loneliness and poverty. Victims of crimes, stigmatised and marginated people are our daily struggle. We know that what we can do is never enough. For every one we can assist, there are many we cannot reach.
We never will be able to individually console five to nine daily victims of murders, but we can offer our services and our support to those who wish to be assisted.
Our commitment is towards everybody and our mandate is towards mercy, not vengeance. We do not promote jungle justice, lynching, and mobs because our vision is to contribute to building lives instead of increasing violence. We do advocate against corruption, the mother of most of the crimes committed in Jamaica, where a broken system is systematically using and abusing the most vulnerable.
Dear Minister Morgan, we need to work hard together for the defence of rights, it is the only avenue to prevent other bloody, cruel, unacceptable tragedies.
Maria Carla Gullotta
Italian Honorary Consulate