Mi Know Mi Rights!!

Often times we hear persons bellow “I know my rights!” I mean in almost every situation of injustice this phrase comes into play. That leaves me with the question of what are human rights and who do they really benefit?

Human rights are rights that are inherent to everyone or are they rights believed to belong to every person, as often times we experience a flagrant disregard for our basic human rights and the law.

The Jamaica Charter of Fundamental Human Rights and Freedom Act clearly states (a) the state has an obligation to promote universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and freedoms; (b) all persons in Jamaica are entitled to preserve for themselves and future generations the fundamental rights and freedoms to which they are entitled by virtue of their inherent dignity as persons and as citizens of a free and democratic society; and (c) all persons are under a responsibility to respect and uphold the rights of others.  So why is it that we are experiencing so many cases of injustice and dissatisfaction? As expressed often in the Jamaica Community of Positive Women space, rights are words on paper until they are acted upon.

Is it that we need to educate our society on our rights and encourage that they be acted upon, even provide support as needed to ensure we get the justice we so deserve? Shockingly women are seemingly more affected, particularly women of color, as there has been an increase in the number of female incarceration since 2008 whom face challenges of discrimination and integration into society after release. Some of the women and even young girls in juvenile home, having a disturbing history of emotional , physical and sexual abuse which may be the  Pregnant women are often times shackled during delivery and this poses health risk to both mother and child. Added social burden!

Too often we struggle through these scenario’s and have a replay of Vybz Kartel’s “emergency! wi a suffah roun ere” when our rights have been violated. Even worse, often we do not understand nor know which rights has been violated and sometimes our rights have been violated but ignorance cause us to settle for what it is that we do not deserve.

The UN Trust Fund via JASL had created opportunities for women to be sensitized and made aware of their rights as living beings. As a beneficiary of the project it has created avenue for me to seek redress and to transfer knowledge to others in similar or worse positions. This training had exposed me to shocking truth and the impact of HIV in all of this. Laws, religion and human rights definitely do not walk hand in hand and that is such a shame as those are three core factors to our lives.

With a fundamental right to education I believe it is only fair that we education people of their human rights  as this is essential for us to exercise our rights as we should. This will promote individual freedom and empowerment which will in turn aid sustainable development and growth. And am just saying. 😉


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