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UN recommends laws to address discrimination against Guyana’s Indigenous peoples

first_imgThe United Nations Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) recently released its 2019 report on the concluding observations on Guyana where it outlined several recommendations to address the issue of discrimination against Indigenous women across the country.Members of an Indigenous dance troupe during heritage celebrationsThese recommendations come in light of a shadow report, which was submitted to the Committee by the South Rupununi District Council (SRDC) during the Committee’s 73rd session held in Geneva earlier this year. In this report presented by SRDC representative Immaculata Casimero, the local council recognised the Government’s implementation of programmes for women’s development as an important step; however, it pointed out that the Government’s efforts often did not reach Indigenous communities. It further made mention of the issues affecting Indigenous women and girls within the territory as well as issues affecting women nationally.As such, the UN Committee had incorporated the SRDC’s concerns and recommendations in the finalising of its report, and, therefore, called on the Government of Guyana to amend its laws to guarantee the rights of Indigenous women and girls, but overall the people.Some of the main law amendments recommended by the CEDAW are: (1) Carry out nationwide education awareness-raising campaigns, including in Indigenous languages and on the local radio, about the risks and criminal nature of trafficking as well as the available support services.(2) Expedite the approval of amendments to the Sexual Offences Act and create dedicated sections and/or time slots for the treatment of sexual offences in courts in the hinterland, including in mobile courts.(3) Guarantee the consultation of rural and Amerindian women and girls in the development and implementation of policy and legislative measures, including through organisations representing them, and district and village councils.(4)Amend the Amerindian Act (2006) and other relevant laws, using a gender-sensitive approach, with a view to ensuring that the rights of Amerindian communities to their lands, territories and resources are fully recognised and protected, in accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and take targeted measures to improve access for women, especially Indigenous women and women with disabilities to the formal employment sector, among others.Meanwhile in a statement to the media earlier on Monday, the SRDC has stated that it welcomes the Concluding Observations on Guyana by the UN Committee, noting that the document was timely and incorporated many of the SRDC’s recommendations for Government action to address discrimination against Indigenous women.Additionally, the SRDC urges the Government of Guyana to respect its treaty obligations, to implement the recommendations made by CEDAW, and to work collectively with the SRDC, other Indigenous representative institutions, and Indigenous Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to ensure that Indigenous women can fully enjoy the rights recognised under CEDAW.last_img

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