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Convention Against Torture Claim Approved for Gay Jamaican

Following testimony by Human Rights Watch, an immigration judge in New Jersey granted a gay Jamaican man’s request to stay in the United States under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), permitting him to remain in the country. The September 20 decision was based on evidence that the man was likely to be tortured because of his sexual orientation if he was returned to Jamaica. Successful claims under the CAT are rare, particularly those based on sexual orientation. We submitted both written and oral testimony at several points in the case, and helped the claimant to secure legal representation. Human Rights Watch has documented widespread and virulent homophobia in Jamaica, and in 2004 released a report showing how such abuses have undermined the country’s fight against HIV/AIDS. While the case is not over – the judge also recommended that the government appeal – it is an important acknowledgement of the severe abuses faced by gay Jamaicans.

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