Human Rights are inalienable, essential protection for all, no one excluded. When we mention human rights, we take a big stand.
The stand recognizes that each person under the sun is equal and that each one of us is entitled to be treated in the same way.
No color, no religion, no ethnicity, no sexual orientation, no age, no nationality should prevent us from being respected, accepted, and defended. What a challenging principle to be recognized as universal and inalienable and what a powerful tool to guarantee that nobody should be abused or left behind. We should consider human rights as the solid base for guarantees. Against tyranny, violence, corruption, and abuses.
Access to justice, inclusion, tolerance are avenues to produce a rightful society where everybody is fairly represented. Jamaica had to fight for a long time against discrimination and racism to build its own identity. Our Out of Many One People motto is the powerful choice to unite and protect, recognizing the dignity and rights of all citizens. There is no shortcut when we reason about principles and what is their essence.
Jamaica is living a challenging time and we all feel it. We frantically look at where such violence can lead us and we risk losing clarity and the ability to reason in favor of livid anger justifying human rights restrictions and increasing appeals for tough remedies, stiffer penalties, and shooting to kill. Statements identifying human rights organizations as obstacles to the respect for law and order open an avenue toward a modern wild west and completely misses the goal of a society ruled by the above-mentioned principles. Human rights groups, including Stand Up for Jamaica, represent, struggle, and lobby every day in defense of the most fragile people, offering representation to those without voice and power. We do work with people in need, women, children, the marginalized, incarcerated people, mentally ill people, and the homeless, to ensure assistance and justice. Including sending them to jail for violent perpetrators. So many people need help and what we do is never enough.
We often hear that we do not like the police, while we daily partner with officers in dealing with challenging situations. Let me say loud and clear that such an alleged lack of empathy is artificially created to justify backlash when we do not support unprofessional behavior or excessive use of force. There must be a striking difference between a police officer’s conduct and a gang leader’s wicked attitude. Human rights defenders may not be popular because they put their finger in the sore of corruption and lack of accountability, which we prefer to call a lack of honesty. Years of experience on the ground, facing and trying to solve real problems, seldom encourages those crying for violence to explore and use our expertise.
It is so much easier to rule than empower, to control through fear and irrational sentiments than seek a true alternative.