UN Human Rights Committee commends Guyana on measures promoting Gender Equity


The Human Rights Committee has concluded its review of Guyana’s third periodic report on its implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR) and during the dialogue, experts of the Human Rights Committee commend measures promoting Gender Equity, ask about the Territorial Dispute with Venezuela and alleged corruption regarding oil Exploitation Permits.

See below for a statement from the UN:

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Gail Teixeira appeared virtually before the UN Human Rights Committee

The Human Rights Committee today concluded its consideration of the third periodic report of Guyana on how it implements the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Committee Experts commended measures promoting gender equity, and raised issues concerning the dispute with Venezuela over the Essequibo territory and alleged corruption regarding oil exploitation permits.

A Committee Expert said the State party had implemented various legislative and policy measures to promote gender equality and ensure the equitable representation of women in public and political life.  How was the State encouraging the implementation of gender equality provisions in judicial and political decision making?

One Committee Expert asked the delegation to comment on the International Court of Justice’s provisional measures order of 1 December 2023 and the 3 December referendum regarding the Essequibo territoryOpens in new window.  Had Guyana imposed a state of emergency or taken other measures in response to the very tense political situation between the two States?

Another Committee Expert asked if a thorough investigation had been conducted into Exxon Mobil Guyana’s allegations of corruption, following the Government’s granting of a licence to exploit oil fields. There were reports that the State party implemented a carbon credit trading scheme without consulting with indigenous peoples.  How did the State party ensure the proper implementation of the Escazu Regional Agreement, especially provisions on consultation and access to information?

Gail Teixeira, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance of Guyana and head of the delegation, introducing the report, said that Guyana, one of the poorest countries in the early 1990s, was now one of the fastest growing economies due to large oil discoveries in 2019 and oil production.  The State party was committed to maximising these benefits for all Guyanese.  The Government continued to prioritise investments in education, healthcare, infrastructure and housing.

The delegation said Guyana had made tremendous strides in the field of gender equality.  Thirty-nine per cent of members of Parliament were women.  Over 5,000 women had been trained in entrepreneurial skills.  Guyana ranked sixth in the region in terms of gender equality.  Eighty-five per cent of housing subsidies went to women.

One exogenous threat for Guyana, Ms. Teixeira said, came from the State’s neighbour Venezuela, which was claiming two-thirds of Guyana’s territory as its own.  This matter was settled in 1899.  With the Secretary-General of the United Nations invoking the Geneva Agreement, Guyana had approached the International Court of Justice to finally determine this dispute in the interest of the protection of the rule of law.  A joint commission had been set up that aimed to improve relations between the two countries.

Guyana took seriously its responsibility to protect the environment and its rainforests, the delegation said.  The Environmental Protection Agency had brought in increased fines for flaring, and the State party was not aware of allegations of preferential treatment for ExxonMobil.  ExxonMobil had held several open consultations with the public. Allegations that there was no consultation with villagers regarding the carbon credit scheme were untrue.  Any business operating in an Amerindian community needed to engage with the community council.

In concluding remarks, Ms. Teixeira said the Government was striving to leave no one behind as it transformed the country. It aimed to enhance economic activities and jobs.  Rights were critical, and the Constitution and legal framework provided for those rights. The State party had created rights commissions to provide redress for rights violations.

The delegation of Guyana was made up of representatives of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance; Ministry of Legal Affairs; Ministry of Health; Ministry of Home Affairs; Ministry of Human Services and Social Security; Guyana Prison Service; Ministry of Amerindian Affairs; Guyana Police Force; Ministry of Natural Resources; Guyana Geology and Mines Commission; Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions; Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; and the Permanent Mission of Guyana to the United Nations Office at Geneva.

The Human Rights Committee’s one hundred and fortieth session is being held from 4 to 28 March 2024.  All the documents relating to the Committee’s work, including reports submitted by States parties, can be found on the session’s Opens in new window webpageOpens in new window.  Meeting summary releases can be found here.  The webcast of the Committee’s public meetings can be accessed via the UN Web TV webpage Opens in new window.

The Committee will next meet in public at 3 p.m. on Thursday, 21 March, to hold an informal meeting with States.