Guyana affirms commitment to upholding equality, democracy at UNCHR session

Guyana on Monday presented its report to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) under the auspices of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) at its 140th Session, which was held in Geneva, Switzerland.

The country was represented by the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira, who addressed the Commission virtually.

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira

In her initial presentation, the minister said that since the submission of its 2021 Human Rights Report, Guyana has successfully established a strong working mechanism for following up on these obligations.

“Its transformation is notable and being commented on internationally,” she noted.

According to the minister, ensuring every Guyanese benefits is the cornerstone of the government’s development plan. This commitment, she added, is backed by a robust set of innovative programs and policies.

“The government continues to prioritise investments in education, healthcare, infrastructure and housing, laying the groundwork for sustained development and prosperity,” Minister Teixeira affirmed.

For example, she highlighted that the government has increased the budgetary allocation for the education sector from $52 billion in 2019 to $135 billion in 2024, representing a 116 per cent increase.

Meanwhile, responding to questions concerning the death penalty in Guyana, the minister said that the constitutional reform process, which is expected to begin this year, seeks to address any discrepancies through a comprehensive and transparent public consultation strategy.

“This issue is linked to constitutional reform, and therefore, we will have to await that process, which will be determined by the Guyanese people in their views,” the minister explained.

She pointed out that a similar process was conducted between 1991-2001, and at that time, the popular view was to retain the death penalty.

“However, we have not executed anyone from 1997, and the courts have generally and primarily been issuing sentences for life imprisonment…so, it is an ad hoc or informal moratorium that we have maintained from 1997 to now,” she stated.

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