KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — A New York-based human rights group on Thursday called for Jamaican police to conduct a full investigation into the mob killing of a transgender teenager.
Dwayne Jones was found dead on July 22 near the northern city of Montego Bay after being attacked by a crowd of people while attending a dance party in women’s clothing. Authorities said the 16-year-old was stabbed multiple times and shot once.
In a Thursday statement, Human Rights Watch said Jamaican authorities need to send an “unequivocal message that there will be zero tolerance for violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.”
Justice Minister Mark Golding has recently condemned the slaying, saying police “must spare no effort” in finding the killers.
Activists say Jamaican gays, particularly those in poor communities, suffer frequent discrimination.
An anti-sodomy law bans anal sex on the island and advocates for gays argue that the colonial-era statute fuels homophobia. A gay rights activist is trying to challenge the constitutionality of the nearly 150-year-old law in a Jamaican court.
Last year, a local gay rights group the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals & Gays, received 36 reports from adult gay males saying they were the victims of mob violence due to their sexual orientation.