New Database Tracks Human Rights Violations in the Caribbean

North America and the Caribbean Regional Correspondent

NSWP Member Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC), a working group of organisations and leaders advocating for populations affected by HIV, launched an online database this month. The Shared Information Database (SID) will be used to collect information about human rights abuses experienced by people living with HIV, sex workers, drug users, transgender people, men who have sex with men, marginalised youth, immigrants and inmates.

CVC created the database to gather clear and accurate data to show the frequency and severity of human rights violations in the Caribbean. In 2013 the Human Rights Watch published a report on abuses experienced by the LGBT community in Jamaica.  More than half of the research participants said they had experienced some form of violence related to their gender or sexual identity. Currently, anti-sodomy laws exist in Jamaica and Guyana, and in Guyana a transgender person may not appear in court without wearing clothes associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. According to PANCAP/CVC-COIN studies conducted in 2011 in Kingston, 25 percent of sex workers have been a victim of violence in their club, 38 percent on the street, and 29 percent at the hands of personal partners. Nearly 30 percent reported having been sexually abused.  

The database was created to be used by non-governmental and civic organisations that come into contact with vulnerable populations. The group will train providers at agencies on how to input data to protect the confidentiality of the victims of violence. Currently the organisation has trained and shared the database with several organisations in Jamaica, Belize, Guyana and Haiti including NSWP member Jamaica Forum for Lesbians and Gays (JFLAG). Individuals linked into the organisations would make reports with the assistance of a provider. The information collected will be shared across participating members to guide their programming and inform advocacy work. The database would also allow CVC to identify trends in identity-based violence and to collaborate with law enforcement where appropriate.  

The SID is one of several interventions being developed by CVV and Centro de Orientacion e Investigacion Integral (COIN) as part of a three-year Caribbean Civil Society Grant through The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The programming seeks to increase access and quality of care for those living with HIV.