Gov’t to submit written responses to UN Human Rights Committee’s concerns – Dr Jagdeo

The government working to complete its written responses to the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Committee (HRC), answering all the questions asked by one of its committee members.

During an interaction with journalists on Thursday, Peoples Progressive Party’s General Secretary and Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, expressed his concern that the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira, was not given enough time to provide appropriate responses to the committee.

People’s Progressive Party’s General Secretary, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

He said, “The problem is that if you ask 70 questions and you don’t give us time to respond, like Gail Teixeira complained. You asked all these questions. People hear all these questions but they should also hear the answers…we’re working on that [report] now and the responses have to go soon … every one of these issues we’ll address in writing and we will ask them to publish our responses to the questions – we will publish them too.”

Additionally, the GS questioned the failure of certain local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) make public their shadow submissions by to the committee.  “[There are] not many countries that allow individual complaints … The US, and UK do not allow individual complaints. We [government] have allowed that to happen…we want to see for transparency purposes; we’d like to see all the submissions. You can see our submission from government … this is a body that enhances great transparency, so it should be transparent on how it works too,” Dr Jagdeo emphasised.

The general secretary also disregarded the concerns that were raised, stating that they resemble the unsubstantiated narrative touted by the APNU+AFC parliamentary opposition, which has since 2020 accused the administration of wrongdoings.

He recalled the time before the 2015 general and regional elections, during which the APNU+AFC was able to successfully portray the administration as extremely corrupt through misinformation and falsehoods.

“They [opposition] can’t find resonance here in Guyana, nobody pays attention to them … so they go to the international bodies,” he explained.

Notably, all the allegations and concerns that were brought up in the committee have been comprehensively addressed by the government in its third International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) report.

Guyana in 2020, was asked to submit its ICCPR report, which was subsequently submitted in 2021, outlining in detail the advances made by the government in civil and political rights.

“We’ve addressed issues of corruption, rigging of elections etc. All of these are addressed in our main submission,” he underscored.

Minister Teixeira during her appearance before the committee, defended the government’s stance by stating the facts contained in the report submitted. She noted that this report only dealt with matters up to 2021 and didn’t address other issues raised, including incidents in the years after.

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