Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Calls on Jamaica to Protect Communities of St. Ann

Haul road near Gibraltar All Age School, St Ann, 2020. Photo: JET

In June this year, Malene Alleyne, Jamaican international human rights lawyer and founder of Freedom Imaginaries, called on the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to protect Afro-descendant families living in peasant communities in St. Ann.

She urged the Commission to call on Jamaica to adopt measures to protect the rights to health, personal integrity, and life of families at risk due to the impacts of bauxite mining within their communities.

Malene explained that community members do not have access to adequate, timely, and specialized medical care for their multiple ailments caused by the nearby bauxite mining. In addition, some community members reportedly received threats, harassment, and intimidation by police officers and third parties because of their critical stance against bauxite mining activities in the area, as well as because of the legal actions taken at the domestic level.

The Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) collaborated with Malene on her submission by providing an expert declaration citing JET’s publications on the impacts of bauxite mining, including: RED DIRT: A Multidisciplinary Review of the Bauxite-Alumina Industry in Jamaica.

Theresa Rodriguez-Moodie of JET says: “We truly appreciate ELAW’s collaboration on Red Dirt, including contributions supporting the scientific and economic elements of the publication. We are pleased that Red Dirt has been so useful and instrumental.”

The IACHR has called on the State of Jamaica to: 

  • Take the necessary measures to protect the rights to life, personal integrity, and health of the Afro-descendant persons identified as beneficiaries in the St. Ann region, with a cultural, gender-based, and age-appropriate perspective, including the following: i. carry out the necessary medical diagnoses to define the corresponding medical care; ii. guarantee adequate, timely, and specialized medical care, according to the medical conditions; and iii. guarantee access to contaminant-free water;
  • Adopt the necessary measures to prevent threats, harassment, and other acts of violence against the beneficiaries;
  • Consult and agree upon the measures to be adopted with the beneficiaries and their representatives; and
  • Report on the actions taken to investigate the events that led to the adoption of this precautionary measure, so as to prevent such events from reoccurring.

Congratulations Freedom Imaginaries and JET!

For more information please see:

December 2, 2022. IACHR grants precautionary measures in favor of Afro-descendant persons from peasant communities of St. Ann in Jamaica.

December 12, 2022, JET welcomes IACHR decision in favour of residents of St Ann mining communities

Bern Johnson
Executive Director
Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide