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Overview and Key facts:

Capital: Georgetown

Land Area: 214,970 sq km

Head of Government: Prime Minister Rt Hon Bharrat Jagdeo Since August 2006)

Population: 738,000 (2007)

Major Languages: English, Amerindian dialects, Creole, Hindi, Urdu

Major Religion(s): Christian 50%, Hindu 35%, Muslim 10%, other 5%

Date of Joining: 1966

Status of FOI Legislation:

The government of Guyana has announced their willingness to fulfil the FOI and that 'ultimately legislation on freedom of information will be enacted, recognizing that it is but only one aspect of access to information.' The absence of FOI laws has seen the Guyana political history get distorted. Guyana Press Association is willing to support any move towards the FOI legislation.

Status of National Human Rights Institutions:

None. Guyana has a Universal Periodic Review in the 8th Session 2010 and attended the Caribbean Regional Seminar on the Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council, October 2008, Christchurch, Barbados.

News Updates:

Guyana: On 28 May 2009 Caribbean Net News reported that the Head of the Presidential Secretariat of the Office of the President Dr Roger Luncheon has withdrawn from the Security Sector Reform negotiations with the United Kingdom. This move was in response to recent proposals submitted by the United Kingdom on the Security Sector Reform Plan (SSRP), which Lucheon alleges is in contravention of the commitments already made between the Guyana government and the UK.

Guyana: 25 April 2009 'Caribbean Net News' reported that the ruling party has urged more action to counter domestic violence.

Guyana: On 25 April 2009 'Caribbean Net News' reported that the National Assembly has passed a new law that sets time limits for judicial decisions.

Guyana: On 2 April 2009 'Caribbean Net News' reported that a legislation has been proposed to deal with the huge number of cases that are before the courts pending decisions. According to the report the judicial Decisions Bill will attempt to fix a timeframe to deliver judgements after the conclusion of hearings. The report indicates that in the case of civil cases it is proposed that the judgement should be delivered within 120 days after the conclusion of hearings.

Guyana: On 28 March 2009 'Caribbean Net News' reported that three divorce petitions were granted by the High Court without any hearing by the judge presiding over the case. According to reports this was brought to the attention of the judge who in turn has asked the Chief Justice to investigate into the fraud.

Guyana: On 23 March 2009 'Caribbean Net news' reported that the former Attorney General of the country has expressed concern over the backlog of cases in the country's courts.

Guyana: On 2 March 2009 'Caribbean Net News' reported that the President has expressed his unhappiness over the recent 'Trafficking in Persons' report compiled by the US State Department.

Guyana: On 5 February 2009, 'Caribbean Net News' reported that Guyana's transport minister has threatened to fire striking air traffic controllers.

Guyana: On 5 February 2009 'Caribbean Net News' reported that the Georgetown prison in Guyana is overcrowded with 832 pre-trial detainees.

Guyana: On 28 January 2009 'Caribbean Net News' reported that hundreds of Guyanese are waiting to be deported from Canada. The Canadian High Commissioner in Guyana, Charles Court, said the number of Guyanese to be deported is about 700 to 800, similar to the number pending deportation to Mexico, Iran and other countries that have larger populations than Guyana. The President of Guyana reportedly stated that since Guyana has good relations with Canada the country will facilitate some people to return.

Guyana: On 19 January 2009 'Caribbean Net News' reported that the governing People's Progressive Party/Civic successfully challenged a motioned presented by the main opposition People's National Congress Reform on the live and unedited broadcast of Guyana's Parliamentary sittings, saying that the motion had come "before its time."

Guyana: On 8 December 2008 'Caribbean Net News' reported that the Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy, a US based organisation has criticised the removal of the Guyanese MP James McAllister from the Parliament of Guyana.

Guyana: On 19 November 2008 'Caribbean Net News' reported that five new laws are going to be introduced to protect the rights of children.

Guyana: On 31 October 2008 'Caribbean Net News' reported that opposition parties in Guyana are seeking the intervention of the UN and the OAS on allegations of torture in Guyana.

Guyana: On 25 September 2008 'Caribbean Net News' reported that the Commonwealth Secretariat's Ministerial Group on Guyana has called for a speedy resolution of the Guyana-Venezuela border dispute.

Guyana: On 24 September 2008 'Caribbean Net News' reported that the government was considering wire tapping legislation. Reportedly fears have been expressed as this may infringe civil liberties.

Guyana: On 4 August 2007 the newspaper "Stabroek News" reported that the government of Guyana is accused of passing a motion in parliament which would give it much more control over the country's police forces. Opposition members and a senior police officer in the force reportedly believe that the motion is intended to allow the government to use the police force as a political tool. The motion reportedly gives the government more control over appointments to the six-member Police Service Commission, which among its duties, promotes and disciplines police officers. According to the report, traditionally, the National Assembly had made appointments in consultation with police groups however it is reported that this time the government rejected all of the candidates proposed by the police groups, citing a lack of sensitivity for gender, ethnicity, geography and religion, as required by the constitution. Police groups, it is reported, have responded by rejecting this claim. Reports add that the government used a section of the constitution that allows it to consult "any other body it deems fit" which it used to pass the motion. (04/08/07)

Guyana: On 22 July 2007 the newspaper 'Starbroek News' reported that the Guyana Human Rights Association has condemned the treatment by a police officer of a 13 year-old and 14 year-old girl in Mocha. Allegedly, a policewoman paraded the girls around their village with shaved heads and handcuffs. The girls claimed to be victims of rape and abuse by men in their families and were charged with wandering by the policewoman after running away from their homes. The group stated that the action taken by the police officer violated every article of the Convention of the Rights of the Child. (22/07/07)

Guyana: On 18 July 2008, Caribbean 360 reported that the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation's (UNESCO) Caribbean Office is considering a proposal to assist with Guyana's prison reform programme.

Guyana: On 28 June 2007 'Stabroek News' reported that the Government is arguing against two human rights reports published by United States Federal Government agencies. The reports are the International Narcotics Control Strategy Report released by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs; the Report on Human Rights Practices issued by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor; and the Trafficking in Persons Report written by the United States Department of State. The reports focused on police human rights violations, trafficking of young indigenous women, and other human rights issues that plague Guyana. The Government had an angry reaction to the criticisms of the report. (28/06/07)

Guyana: On 16 June 2007 'Stabroek News' reported that the Special Rapporteur for freedom of expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights believes that President Bharrat Jagdeo may have used the allocation of government advertising to sanction or reward the mass media for their news coverage. (16/06/07)

Guyana: On 14 June 2007 the 'Caribbean Net News' reported that the United States State Department has urged Guyana to prosecute human traffickers. The State Department report states that men, women, and children are trafficked within the country for slavery and sexual exploitation. The latest Trafficking In Persons (TIP) report released by the United States put Guyana on the "Tier 2 Watch List" because of its failure to act on human trafficking. Guyana's insertion in the list will be re-examined in February 2008. (14/06/07)

Guyana: On 29 May 2007, Caribbean Net News reported that on 25 May 2007, for the third time in less than five years, Guyana's leading newspaper Kaieteur News came under attack. Two armed men reportedly broke into the newspaper office and held the staff including the Editor-in-Chief on gunpoint. Reports indicate that nobody was harmed and that the target for the attack was the newspaper's publisher who was at that time abroad. (29/05/07)


Joint Letter to HRC Members on Sri Lanka

Statement on Human Rights Defenders

United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Mandela Rules)

Re Inhuman conditions in prison SC order 24.4.15

Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act 2010 and the FCR Rules - Points for consideration

Hear the Message, Don't Shoot the Messenger - Curbing Voices of Dissent in the Name of Regulation


Breaking the silence"- CHRI's Press note on Sri Lanka's RTI

CHRI's critique of Tanzania's ATI Bill 2015

Tanzania's ATI Act 2015 (Bill)

CHRI celebrates the release and repatriation of Khan Zaman

Incidence of rape-torture-death in Prisons

Acquittal of Accused Pac Personnel in the 1987 Hashimpura Killings

Call for Proposals - Crime Victimisation Survey

Call for Quotations Website Maintenance


Call for implementation of UNSC resolution on humanitarian access for Syrians


JointLetter BRICS Summit Fortaleza


VAW statement - item 3 - 11 June 2014

Upcoming UPR review for Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho Granada and Guyana


Humanrights Initiative

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