Rasta Rights Matter: Demand the Government to End Abuses and Historic Discrimination in Jamaica

Regarding the latest cases of rights violations against Rastafarians in Jamaica, Movement leaders held a press conference to launch the international campaign “Respect Rastafari”, Demanding immediate intervention in government policies regarding the treatment and respect that the main State institutions should have for the Rastas of the island.

Filled with outrage at the repetitive events that have occurred since the movement's inception in Jamaica and, in particular, after the latest news about the violation of rights experienced by a young Rastafari who was stripped of her dreadlocks by the police without any authorization, situation that occurred a month after another case involving an elderly Rastafarian in a public hospital, the community made a presentation with 10 demands to be implemented in the short term, medium and long term.

“The Rastafari community has been subjected to continuous harassment and irregular persecution by the police and human rights violations., constitutional, and indigenous people that has not ceased despite the apology of the Government of Jamaica for the atrocities of Coral Gardens, the Amendment of the Dangerous Drugs Act and promises of legislative protection of rights for the Rastafari community ”, they say in a letter to Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

In said letter, The promoters of the proposal are emphatic in pointing out that the Government of Jamaica has profited and created an image of the country at the international level thanks to the use of the symbols, Rastafarian image and culture, for the same, They demand that several measures be implemented as soon as possible to end the abuse and persecution against the movement.

“Numerous public and private entities have proactively and conspicuously co-opted the images, slang, Rastafarian symbols and life, including Reggae music, and have commercialized Rastafarian assets as a central part of Jamaica's grassroots identity and tourism product, which is the main generator of foreign currency in the country. These are clear indicators that the Jamaican government and society fully understand that the Rastafari Movement, its indigenous attributes and products are substantial political and economic assets for Jamaica ”, they add.

One of the main demands raised is the resurrection of the Rastafarian Advisory Board under the Jamaica Ministry of Justice, as required by the amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2015 who legalized sacramental marijuana for Rastafarians. further, intends to expand the mandate of the advisory board to hold all government ministries accountable for Rastafarian issues. Sister Goldi, one of the group organizers, He said: “Rastafari will no longer tolerate government use of his image and life to sell Jamaica along with rampant and illegal abuse”.

The objective is to empower the Rastafari Family to know and demand their rights, to work with the authorities in the changes and the fulfillment of the laws and the eradication of the colonial mentality.

The campaign - which also has a digital signature collection platform- seeks to increase international pressure to ensure that the government of Jamaica is held to account and addresses the recent and ongoing harassment and abuse faced by the Rastafarian community in Jamaica in relation to multiple human rights violations, indigenous and constitutional.

“Rastafari is the base of the marijuana industry in Jamaica, but now it's the stone that the builder rejects. Without rights there can be no peace”, stated another organizer, Elder Rastafarian and former marijuana advocate Ras Iyah V.

Company here the request and check below the 10 demands of the movement: