Human Wrongs Groups

human rights

human rights (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

I get it. People don’t like Jamaicans for Justice, and a lot of people probably believe the name should be changed to Jamaicans for Injustice. Former controversial cop Reneto Adams wasn’t shy about his dislike of the organisation, which he dubbed, along with like-minded entities (think Amnesty International) as “human wrongs groups.”  He wasn’t alone.

Jamaica has high levels of violent, horrendous crime. Human rights activists have been painted as criminal lovers and defenders of criminals because they dare to take the hugely unpopular position that each and every one of us (including gunmen) should have our human rights respected and should not be abused by agents of the state. Their insistence that force should be a last resort and that the level of police killings in Jamaica is unacceptable makes them targets of hostility.

Photo courtesy of

I get that. I hold no brief for JFJ although I’m sure it sounds like it sometimes, since I feel obligated to correct the wrong and unfair comments made about the group by callers to my programmes.

eg they never speak out when police are killedNOT TRUE. JFJ issues a statement of condemnation whenever policemen are killed. I know this as a fact.  I see the statements when they come into the newsroom and I see them included in the newscast.

They only take up for criminals (whether alleged, accused or convicted). NOT TRUE. JFJ has, for several years, maintained an active and spirited advocacy on behalf of children in the care of the State that has resulted in the Government of Jamaica being forced to defend itself before the Inter American Commission on Human Rights.

But I digress. So I get why Jamaicans dislike them. Here’s what I don’t get. JFJ speaks out when they believe there have been human rights abuses by agents of the state. That is the cause which they have chosen. So what’s with this constant call for them to speak out on behalf of victims of crime, incest survivors, children abandoned in the jungle and left to be brought up by Tarzan and Jane, etc etc?

Whether you like their mandate or not, they have chosen it, and they are executing it. If we think those other causes are important, why not take them up ourselves? I am sure Tarzan’s adopted kids would appreciate it.

12 thoughts on “Human Wrongs Groups

  1. Annie Paul

    good one Dionne…i’ve never understood the flak JFJ gets either…they should be commended for getting off their verandahs and doing something…it’s absolutely exasperating to hear the tired criticism from folks who fold their hands, do nothing and then overexercise their tongues…

    and more disturbingly what does it say about local concern for human rights that its only so-called white Jamaicans who seem to care? (race is another frequently hurled term of criticism)

  2. Owen Blakka Ellis

    JFJ has chosen a hard road. Ignorance about the group’s mandate is a key factor contributing to the constant hate hurled at them. Another factor though, is a warped view of justice among many Jamaicans. It’s a view that is tied to the culture of revenge, retribution and judgement that is encouraged by misguided religious and cultural leaders.

  3. Anthony

    Perception in Jamaica will often overshadow fact, JFJ has neither the personnel nor resources to fight that so it remains that they are only vocal in certain cases. What is a bit annoying though is that they often seem to come to a conclusion for themselves long before any investigation is complete. Do we have that little faith in our security forces that it’s impossible to believe, it could have happened as reported? I try to consider that I know both sides lie, repeatedly, I’ve seen incidents then hear accounts on the news and have to say WTH. So even when I hear a whole community singing a song I take it with a grain of salt, when court come them can’t find or everybody forget the verse. Sometimes I just wish JFJ would remember that, educate, the people’s role is not just to ball for justice they have to tell the truth too and follow up

    1. djmillerja Post author

      That comment is important. People do sometimes either lie or jump to conclusions. I was at a protest scene once where the road was blocked. A hearse came along and the police were trying to get it through. Some idiot started to shout “See deh! Police send hearse fi we!” and in a few minutes the whole crowd too it up and started to carry on bad. If a camera had come along, that’s what you would have heard on camera!

  4. Vivienne Kemble-Siva

    Good article. Unfortunately many Jamaicans choose to remain ‘ignorant’ when it comes to certain issues. It is always going to be difficult to get a logical discussion on this or many other issues such as the need the amend the country’s buggery laws

  5. Claude Russell

    The abusers know no other way or find it inconvenient to change. At the first opportunity,( a spike in murders, a horrible, violent crime or a murder of a famous person), the security forces revert to the old habits that don’t work but create an impression of doing something. We have little faith in anything else. Sadly, it will take years, maybe a decade of consistent pressure & effort to change our views. For this to work,the authorities must keep the state agencies on the track of intelligence gathering, case building, apprehending suspects & conviction in court. The invading army thing has failed. JFJ & the other human rights groups are needed but must be consistent too or they will be dismissed as hypocrites & weaken their cause.

  6. Eleanor Miller

    Good article, for me the JFJ represents a sector of the society that uses a good cause for a bad thing. Yes they come out against the killing of police .. I for one think it is superficial as this “stance” is a recent act and is consequent to the public out cry against the brutal killing of a number of police men some years ago. For me their statements are far from genuine.
    Why does the public think that they are supportive of the criminals and not of the police .. where is objectivity in their arguments ? Don’t the police have human rights too? Abusive ? Don’t you think that a segment of the population has no respect for the police? Don’t we know of women protecting the gun men at all cost ? The abusive slurs police?
    When the JFJ comes to the Jamaican people with an objective agenda and not the agenda of being anti- police at all cost .. will be the only point that I would confer any respect for them on any of their supporters … including the IDICOM Head who I think should be remove from his post with immediate effect.

  7. Pingback: Would we care if Trayvon Martin had died in Jamaica? | News and Views by Dionne Jackson Miller

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