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Several Caribbean Countries Slammed For Rights Violation

CaribWorldNews, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. May 29, 2009: Nine Caribbean nations have made the 2009 Amnesty International report because of their poor human rights records.

The Bahamas, Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, St. Kitts, Suriname, Puerto Rico and Trinidad and Tobago all made the report, released Thursday, which charged that the countries must do more to improve human rights.

Most made the report because of reports of excessive police violence and the death penalty.

In T&T, AI said the growing incidence of violent crime and the failure to bring police officers responsible for abuses to justice continued to undermine public confidence in the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service while in Puerto Rico, the organization said there were reports of police brutality against migrants and residents of poor neighborhoods, as well as allegations of discrimination and racial profiling by police.

In Jamaica, the group said the rate of police killings remain too high and urged officials to take steps to address police impunity and lack of accountability.  The advocacy group highlighted the deaths of Jevaughn Robinson and Carlton Grant, the son of popular entertainer Spragga Benz, who was shot dead by the police in August last year in downtown Kingston, as examples.

AI also bemoaned sexual violence against women and girls as well as what it claims is physical abuse of homosexuals.

AI said Haiti was placed on the Americas list because excessive use of force by police officers was reported while sexual violence against women was pervasive. The report said girls under 18 were at particular risk even as thousands of people remained in detention awaiting trial in severely overcrowded conditions and trafficking in persons into the Dominican Republic continued unabated.

The DR was slammed for the number of alleged unlawful killings by security forces, which AI officials said increased in 2008. The group also said Haitians and Dominico-Haitians faced serious discrimination.

St. Kitts and Nevis was cited for its end of a moratorium on executions and the execution of one man in December. Cuba was criticized for its restrictions on freedom of expression, association and assembly and for harassment and intimidation of journalists and political dissidents by security officials.

Suriname made the list because the rights group said the trial of those accused of carrying out extrajudicial executions in December 1982 is still ongoing while the Saramaka People’s land rights remained unresolved.

The Bahamas was slammed for allegations of ill-treatment of and discrimination towards migrants and some reports of abuses by members of the security forces.

`The world needs a new global deal on human rights – not paper promises but commitment and concrete action from governments to defuse the human rights time bomb. World leaders must invest in human rights as purposefully as they are investing in the economy,` said Amnesty International’s Secretary General Irene Khan.