Government will respect international human rights commission’s ruling on Chinese Landing illegal mining issue -says VP Jagdeo

Government will respect international human rights commission’s ruling on Chinese Landing illegal mining issue  -says VP Jagdeo

Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo today said the Government will respect the ruling of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), which has granted precautionary measures in favour of the Indigenous Carib Community of Chinese Landing.

The international human rights body said the people of Chinese Landing are at serious risk of suffering irreparable harm to their human rights.

At a press conference at his party headquarters, the Vice President announced that the Government will send a multi-stakeholder team into Chinese Landing to assess the situation.

The Indigenous community in Region One, has been facing a number of issues related to illegal mining and breach of rights of the indigenous people under the Amerindian Act.  

“We intend to respect the ruling of the Inter American Commission on Human Rights. So, we are going to once again send in another team to visit the area, and that would be a multi-faceted team dealing with environment, social issues, mining rights, every everything [and] to meet with the community,” the Vice President said.

In its 21st July decision, the IACHR called on the Guyana Government to take the necessary measures to protect the rights to life and personal integrity of the Indigenous people living in Chinese Landing, with a cultural, gender-based and age-appropriate perspective to prevent threats, harassment and other acts of violence against the residents.

Guyana has 20 days to inform the Commission on the adoption of the precautionary measures.

According to the Vice President, a report will be completed based on the visit by the multi-stakeholder team and that report will be submitted to the IACHR.

He told reporters that the Government is equally concerned about the issues faced by the people of Chinese Landing. 

Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo

“The communities are our primary concern and we believe that any transgressions there of a social, environmental, mining nature, should be penalize heavily. We share that view,” Jagdeo said.

Jagdeo reminded that it was the Government through the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), that issued a cease work order to miner Wayne Vieira in November 2010, due to a breach of the Amerindian Act.

He said, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), however, overturned that order, ruling in favour of the miner in 2017.  

“So, we had stopped mining in this village, effectively, saying you will have to comply with the Amerindian Act. That was the government’s position. The Caribbean Court of Justice, the apex court, has ruled against us, and so we had to left the cease order,” the Vice President said.

The Vice President said the Government had granted residents of Chinese Landing to mine; however, the community continues to face issues relating to illegal mining, outside of the issue involving Vieira.

According to the IACHR, residents of Chinese Landing have reportedly faced repetitive incidents of threats and harassment, including death threats.

The IACHR is a principal and autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), whose mandate stems from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights.

The Inter-American Commission has the mandate to promote the observance and defense of human rights in the region and acts as an advisory body to the OAS on the matter. (Svetlana Marshall)

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