AI report on Jamaica: gangs and police violence in the inner cities
Amnistía Internacional publicou a semana pasada un informe de 53 páxinas sobre a inseguridade e a violencia que provocan as bandas criminais e a propia policía en Jamaica.
O informe leva por título “Let them kill each other”: Public security in Jamaica’s inner cities. Copio un extracto da introducción:
[...] Jamaica has one of the highest rates of violent crime in the world. In 2005, 1 674 people were the victims of homicide – a record high in a country with 2,7 million inhabitants. This is not a sudden crisis, but follows a steady increase in violent crime over recent years. The use of guns to commit murder has also increased.
The main body responsible for policing in Jamaica is the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF). However, far from protecting people from violent crime the JCF is contributing to the escalation of violence. Jamaica has one of the highest rates of police killings in the Americas. In 2007 alone, 272 people were fatally shot by JCF officers. There are no official figures available on the numbers of police officers killed in the line of duty in the same period. In many cases the killings by JCF officers may have resulted from the legitimate use of force. However, in those cases where there was strong evidence that people were victims of extrajudicial executions, flawed investigations, corruption and a failing justice system guaranteed impunity for the officers involved.
Many of those responsible for violent crime are not brought to justice because of failings in the justice system. The number of murders investigated and solved by the police is extremely low. Prosecution and conviction rates are also extremely poor. [...]
These communities have suffered years of state neglect. The vacuum left by the state has been occupied by gang leaders who control many aspects of life. Gang leaders (known as “dons”) “collect taxes” from local businesses (through extortion); allocate jobs (both in the legal and illegal sectors); distribute food, school books and “scholarships”; and dispense punishment on those who transgress gang rules.
Consecutive governments and political leaders have helped create and maintain the environment in which gang violence has flourished. Gang control is at its most pervasive in “garrison” communities. These are communities entirely under the control of one or other of the political parties. Party control is sometimes enforced by heavily armed gangs who force people in the community to vote for the party in control. [...]
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