[www.inewsguyana.com] – After a 20 year absence, Guyana has demonstrated its commitment to the preservation of the rights of all citizens by appearing at the 56th Working Session of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, held on September 28-29, 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland, with the commitment of presenting its next periodic report in five years.
The Review was hosted to examine Guyana’s Human Rights Report, which was submitted in 2012 and the administration’s treatment of Guyana’s Indigenous peoples, particularly their levels of access to social services; the steps being taken to respect the rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans-sexual and Intersex (LGBTI) community in Guyana; the dearth of good quality statistical information; and the reported high levels of corruption in the country.
Reporting on that meeting, the government claims that the Committee Chairman said that he was satisfied not only with Guyana’s appearance after twenty years, but the delegation’s frankness, and willingness to address the concerns, which arose out of the Report.
In response to the continuous stream of concerns raised with regard to statistical misrepresentations within the report, the Guyanese delegation was able to identify the steps the Ministry of Finance has begun to take to enhance the capacity and credibility of the previously neglected Statistical Bureau through a 2015 budgetary allocation.
The Committee’s concerns on corruption afforded the delegation the opportunity to share updates on the establishment of the State Asset Recovery Unit and the engagement of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, which can possibly lead to the setting up of an office here.
Civil society shadow reports were also submitted to the Committee months prior to the country review. These included reports from the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) and three international Non-Governmental Organisations examining Guyana’s current status in addressing indigenous peoples’ rights, LGBTI community rights and corporal punishment.
The Guyanese delegation reiterated the new Government’s efforts to ensure that the rights of all Guyanese are respected; noting that the upcoming Constitutional reform process will inevitably examine the laws that are considered discriminatory to the LGBTI community.
The Committee expressed the hope that this would be the new pattern with respect to all of the United Nations’ and other international organisations obligations.
The concluding observations, prepared by the Committee following the review of Guyana’s Human Rights Report and contribution at the meeting, are expected to be released on Friday by the United Nations. It will be shared with and reviewed by Guyana for acceptance and will thereafter pave the way for the implementation of measures to address issues coming out of that report. [extracted and modified from GINA]