US concerned with police brutality in Guyana; calls on Gov’t to decriminalize same ‘sex conduct’

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[www.inewsguyana.com] – The United States government has expressed concerns over the “continued and widespread reports of excessive violence by police officers” in the Guyana Police Force.

In a media release, published on the US Embassy’s website in Guyana, the US government also called on the Guyana government to adopt legislation to legalize same sex conduct.

The US statement was in response to Guyana’s delegation at the United Nation’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group session which was headed by Foreign Affairs Minister, Carolyn Rodrigues in Geneva recently.

“We welcome Guyana’s voluntary commitment to hold national consultations on issues from Guyana’s first UPR session, including whether to repeal laws that criminalize consensual sexual activity between adults of the same sex.”

The hardship that members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community face when attempting to access public services was also outlined.

“In addition, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community continue to face targeted acts of societal violence and harassment. Some members reported that they were ridiculed by public officials when attempting to access medical care or file reports with the police,” the US statement explained.

The statement further noted, “No one has yet been brought to justice in several high-profile crimes committed against members of the LGBT community, including the murders of transgender individuals.”

It is in this regard that the recommendations were made for the adaptation of same sex conduct here.

“In consultation with civil society, develop and pass legislation that decriminalizes consensual same-sex sexual conduct and take measures to ensure that hate crimes and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity are vigorously investigated and appropriately prosecuted.”

Additionally, it recommended that proper systems are in place to ensure persons are able to access justice in cases of police excesses.

“Increase the capacity of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) to undertake prompt and impartial investigations of police abuse so the PCA can transfer cases to justice system for prosecution as warranted.”

Instances of continued and widespread police brutality were highlighted by the US Government.

“Instances of police brutality, especially against those held in custody, and the slow pace of investigations and judicial proceedings foster a perception of impunity and a lack of accountability.”

The issue of reported forced labor was another matter that the US expressed concern about stating that forced labor is prevalent in mining, agriculture, and forestry, as well as in domestic service and shops.

“We note the government’s modest progress in its efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor, but we are concerned that children are legally permitted to engage in some hazardous activities.”

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