“Victims’ Voices” Highlights Extra Judicial Killings in Jamaica
This post was contributed by Madeleine Bair, a UC Berkeley Human Rights Center Multimedia Fellow.
Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) launched its first documentary, “Victim’s Voices” in December to a crowd of more than 300 to commemorate International Human Rights Day.
The documentary chronicles the struggles of three women who have fought painstakingly to get justice for their sons who were killed under suspicious circumstances by members of the security forces.
Jamaican Public Defender Earl Witter, European Union Ambassador Marco Mazzocchi Alemanni, and the Ambassadors from Belgium, France, Spain, and Mexico as well as the British High Commissioner were among dignitaries from the international, governmental, and NGO community that filled the Sagicor Auditorium in Kingston for the documentary’ s debut.
The work of human rights defenders worldwide who act to end discrimination is the central theme of this year’ s International Human Rights Day celebration and JFJ, though the documentary, aims to highlight the problem of extra-judicial killings in Jamaica and the effects they have on women, who are most times the sole breadwinners from socioeconomically depressed communities.
Their stories underscore the deficiencies in the justice system and the accountability mechanisms which are roadblocks to attaining justice.
While the documentary provides a platform for these women to voice their struggles for justice, it also provides an opportunity for others in similar situations to empower themselves in claiming their rights. The usual lack of awareness and alienation felt when interacting with agents of the state will be challenged by this capacitybuilding mechanism.
It is JFJ’ s hope that “ Victims’ Voices” will bring local and international attention to the pervading issues in the justice system so that decision-making stakeholders will be inspired to implement possible solutions and reforms.
“Victims’ Voices” was produced by JFJ in collaboration with UC Berkeley Human Rights Center Multimedia Fellow, Madeleine Bair.
See JFJ’s website for more information on Jamaican for Justice.