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UNICEF decries killing of children in gang warfare in Jamaica

The United Nations Children’s Fund would like to state its abhorrence and shock at the brutal and deliberate killing of 10-year old Sasha-Kay Brown of Barnes Avenue, St. Andrew  in a fire set by gunmen on Wednesday morning, October 5, 2005.

We note with deep concern, the sinister and disturbing trend which has developed in recent times of involving children in revenge killings and gang-related killings. Violence combined with HIV/AIDS are now major causes for the orphaning of Jamaican children.  Not only has this implications for Jamaican children today, but also for Jamaica’s future.

The spiraling of violence has placed Jamaica in the same cohort as countries plagued by conflicts and wars, with now close to 5 people killed per day.

UNICEF reiterates its February 2005 call on community dons and gang leaders to leave children out of gang warfare and immediately stop the deliberate killing of children. The Organisation would also like to further encourage the Government of Jamaica to accelerate initiatives, effectively mobilize the various sectors in developing robust multi-sectoral plans, and allocate commensurate resources to allow communities to prevent and mitigate violence, as well as rehabilitate its victims.

We need both effective community policing and long-term community-based and multisectoral approaches. Using only quick fixes will bring long–term failures.

UNICEF calls on political leaders to commit themselves to this long-term fight against violence, and impartially and relentlessly work towards solutions at national and community levels, tapping into the courageous examples set by outstanding community leaders and organizations. Violence, like HIV/AIDS, needs to be tackled in a very systematic, coordinated and sustained manner.

UNICEF in Jamaica remains committed to supporting long-term and comprehensive responses in the home, at school, in communities, and at national level.

Bertrand Bainvel
UNICEF Jamaica



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