Know your rights : Freedom of Movement
So far, we have been examining the fundamental rights afforded to all Jamaicans as provided for by law. This article will focus on the protection of freedom of movement.
The Jamaican Constitution guarantees your freedom of movement unless restrictions are imposed in keeping with the law. You should never be unlawfully restrained or confined.
What constitutes a breach of your right to freedom of movement?
b. Being held hostage
c. Human trafficking
d. Not being allowed to enter certain areas because individuals are securing or protecting their turf.
Legally, to restrain or confine someone without having the authority or jurisdiction to do so is called false imprisonment. This could also amount to a criminal offence.
The State can also be guilty of false imprisonment if proper procedure of arrest and detention is not observed or followed.
It must be emphasised that although the police have powers of arrest, they should not arbitrarily restrain or restrict your movement.
In exceptional cases, your freedom of movement may be limited or restricted by the State. It is, therefore, not considered a breach of your right to freedom of movement if:
a. There is a state of emergency
b. A curfew has been imposed by the State in order to maintain law and order
c. It is in the interest of public health and safety
d. You have been detained and/or charged with committing an offence
e. You have been incarcerated
f. You do not have the necessary permit and travel documents to cross international borders
g. You have been refused entry into a foreign country owing to violation of immigration laws and/or policies
You can get help from several entities in the government sector.
Legal Aid Council
Have you or your relative been arrested but cannot afford legal representation? Call or visit the Legal Aid Council at:
Air Jamaica Building
72-76 Harbour Street, Kingston. Telephone: (876) 948-6999
If you, or anyone you know, have had your rights breached by members of the security forces or the correctional services, contact the Independent Commission of Investigations at:
1 Dumfries Road, Kingston 10,
Toll free 1-888-935-5550 (Digicel)
The Office of the Public Defender
Have you suffered an injustice by a public sector entity? Contact the Office of the Public Defender at:
22-24 Duke Street, Kingston
Telephone: 922-7089-90, 922-7109, 922-8256
Ministry of Justice
61 Constant Spring Road
Telephone: (876) 908-5561 www.moj.gov.jm