Rate this
0 (0 votes)
“No law should threaten the liberty and security of citizens”
0 out of 5 based on 0 user ratings

“No law should threaten the liberty and security of citizens”

As Jamaicans prepare to go to the polls on 29 December, Commonwealth Correspondent Meeckel Beecher, 25, urges his countrymen and women to consider how important human rights are to the nation.

As the world celebrated International Human Rights day on 10 December, I couldn’t help but reflect on the progress that Jamaica has made as it approaches 50 years of independence.

Jamaica, a country with approximately 2.7 million people, has biases that are so entrenched in society that it prevents people from thinking logically.

This not only causes infringements on citizen’s rights but in some cases puts particular groups at risk of physical danger.

In 2005, then Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan stated that “we will not enjoy security without development, we will not enjoy development without security, and we will not enjoy either without respect for human rights.”

I encourage our leaders in Jamaica and across the world to adopt this mantra as we move towards world development.

What leaders must understand is that development and people are intrinsically linked. Professor Aggrey Brown aptly pointed out that development is about people and growth is about things. Our leaders must provide us with the right resources so that as citizens we have the opportunity to maximize our potential.

We should then utilize these resources and ensure their distribution to citizens is without bias.

Jamaica is in desperate need for constitutional reform. The constitution is not only archaic but threatens fundamental human rights in some sections. Even the recent charter of rights bill passed in 2011 to replace chapter 3 of the constitution which focuses on the fundamental rights and freedoms of all Jamaican citizens has left certain groups out in the cold.

In Jamaica, many human rights issues get shoved under the table because of dogmatisms attached to religious principles. What we fail to understand is that in democracy no law should threaten the liberty and security of citizens. A particular religion cannot be the deciding factor for all; not in a plural society.

I am all for religion but it should include equality with mutual recognition of all philosophical, cultural and religious identities. It cannot exclude citizens from the democratic process.

As Jamaicans prepare to go to the polls on 29 December, we must consider how important rights are to us as a nation. All Jamaicans have the right to exist in an environment that is safe and supportive. We all have the right to education, health services, freedom of opinion and expression and equal access to public services.

We as Jamaicans must make an effort to support human rights. We all have our biases but share one commonality, we are all humans. Hilary Clinton recently said “because we are humans, we have rights and because we have rights, governments are bound to protect them”. Let us always remember these words. Forget empty election politics, but let us hold politicians accountable.

Vote wisely. And in your own spaces be kind and respect others.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

About me:

“I am a development enthusiast who believes that the effective mobilization and utilization of youths are fundamental aspects of development. I believe education is a panacea for the world’s ailments and support the notion that literacy is a human right and is one of the best tools for human development.

“Literacy is essential in eradicating poverty, reducing child mortality, achieving gender equality and ensuring sustainable development. I am an Education Outreach Officer and currently the Jamaica Youth Ambassador to the United Nations.”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Comments

comments

Powered by Facebook Comments