U.S. Statement at the UPR of Guyana

21st Session of the Universal Periodic Review
Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America

Geneva,
January 28, 2015

The United States welcomes the delegation from Guyana to the UPR Working Group.

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.

We remain deeply concerned by continued and widespread reports of excessive violence by police officers.  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.

We are also concerned about reports of forced labor 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.

We note, however, the outcome of these consultations remains pending.   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.  We also note 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.

Bearing in mind these concerns, we recommend that Guyana:

  1. 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.
  2. Amend the list of hazardous work to prohibit children under age 18 from working in all listed sectors.
  3. Increase the capacity of the Police Complaints Authority to undertake prompt and impartial investigations of police abuse so the PCA can transfer cases to justice system for prosecution as warranted.

 

(end statement)