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Jamaica: Investigate Killing of Human Rights Defender

Tragic Death of Clover Graham, Advocate for Refugees, Asylum Seekers

(Washington, DC) – Police should ensure that the investigation into the death of the refugee and asylum advocate Clover Graham is effective, thorough, and impartial.

Graham’s body was discovered with her throat slit in St. Catherine, Jamaica, on August 19, 2012.

“It is critically important for authorities to act with urgency to find those responsible for this deplorable attack on a dedicated human rights defender,” said Bill Frelick, Refugee Program director at Human Rights Watch.

Graham had worked with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) since 1998, serving most recently as its liaison for Jamaica, as well as in a legal aid clinic. She also lectured at the University of West Indies Law School and Jamaica’s Institute of Technology.

Police have opened an investigation into Graham’s murder but have not yet identified or detained any suspects in the case, according to news reports.

In November 2007, Graham’s son and his girlfriend were also murdered in Jamaica, likewise found with their throats slit, after they took medical supplies to men with whom they had previously had a car accident. Two men were convicted for the crime in June 2012, and are to be sentenced in September.

“Graham’s untimely death is a devastating loss for the refugees and asylum seekers she assisted, and for the broader human rights community in Jamaica,” Frelick said.

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