Human Rights For Whom?

Today’s Jamaica Observer Cartoon shown to the right 

observer cartoon

summed up succinctly the modus Operandi of Jamaica’s Human Rights Organizations.

Anyone following my blogs will notice the difference in the way I characterize them today.Generally  I refer to them as criminal rights Organizations. I guess it required the satire of the cartoonist to bring me to actually  address them seriously.The cartoonist used satire to show the dysfunctional  priorities of those agencies . There we see them running to the defence of homosexuals and murderers (shattas) while the mentally handicapped are totally ignored.Lets begin by looking at the role real human rights organizations play in looking out for those who cannot speak for themselves . One cannot overemphasize the need for independent organizations to be on guard against governmental oppression of people the world over, the value of the work they do in securing the rights of dispossessed , displaced, and disenfranchised is incalculable, and invaluable.The United Nations commission on human rights covers the gamut of human rights abuses  irrespective of geographical location. Other smaller agencies also do their share of heavy lifting in addressing the burgeoning  array of  ways people are abused . Enough cannot be said about those agencies that dedicate their time to look at abuse and highlight them in an effort to make our world a better place , not just for us but for generations to come.Jamaica like everywhere else , has it’s share of challenges. This blog commends any individual , or agency that steps up to the plate to defend the cause of rights and justice for those who have no voice.We must however also look at the priorities of those who purport to take on those challenges  locally. We must ask whose interest do they serve, if public sentiment is any indicator we can readily agree they are an abject failure.Every years Jamaican police report over 1600 homicides . This does not take into account the numerous cases of shooting victims. Rapes, Arson where entire families are displaced, carnal abuse, and a plethora of other serious crimes that affect the lives of Jamaicans daily.When homicides are looked at within the prism of the consequences they wreck on society it is mind-boggling. The ripple effect on society cannot be denied in terms of trauma and downward drag on scarce resources of the state and Non governmental organizations.In many cases the victim killed is the sole bread-winner, in the form of a father ,who happens to be a cab driver  or someone engaged in work trying to take care of their families. This leaves a destitute family that has no viable means of support, in addition to having to deal with the trauma of loosing a loved one violently and needlessly.This gives well-intentioned  individuals and agencies a never-ending list of individuals and groups to give support to. In addition any such rights groups have the government of the day to scrutinize, holding their feet to the fire , making sure no one’s rights are violated. These are monumental tasks that needs the involvement of more of us.Those who are victims of crime, deserve to be at the head of the line for help and support. They deserve our support and wherever possible a hand-up in getting back on their feet.Conversely, those who choose to destroy the most precious gift we have received from God , the gift of life, must be the last to be represented , and looked after. Even then, looking out for their rights must walk hand in hand, with a mix of rehabilitative options , but a heavy dose of punitive sanctions.Why then does the rights groups in Jamaica choose to represent the rights of criminals?Are we to conclude there is not enough spotlight to be hogged if we dedicate our efforts and attention to the plight of the poor and dispossessed? Is it fair to argue there is more notoriety to be gained by attacking agents of the state, some of whom deserve the attack?Is it fair to ask whose interest is served by the energies Jamaica’s rights groups expend in their defence of criminals? I will concede not all crimes are equal, not all crimes are pre-meditated, and as such , not all crimes deserve the same sanction. Two guys involved in  a fist fight , one punches the other, he falls over hits his head on a stone and dies. This is a case of homicide, however it was not pre-meditated, and as such does not warrant the penalty of capital murder. It however does not preclude him from facing the consequences of manslaughter since the act he was involved in (fist fight) was an illegal act ,and could have led  to something more serious, as it did . This crime is markedly different from someone who forms  part of a group, or who  is individually  involved in premeditated criminality. Murdering  and commiting  other felonies as a way of life.When the two scenarios are evaluated I could clearly see how someone or an agency would argue on behalf of the guy who finds himself in trouble with the law because he was involved in a fist fight.What I do not understand is , what is the rationale for the defence of the murdering despots that destroy lives, and families?Why do they  fudge numbers , and plain lie, to defend known urban terrorists, and demonize cops?These are the questions Jamaicans must ask themselves before they jump on bandwagons, whose side are you on ?mike beckles:have your say: