Rights of indigenous people in Guyana being upheld -Amerindian Affairs Minister tells UN forum

Rights of indigenous people in Guyana being upheld  -Amerindian Affairs Minister tells UN forum

Guyana’s Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai today told the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) that the Guyana Government is working earnestly to ensure the rights of Indigenous People in Guyana are upheld.

The Amerindian Affairs Minister, at the time, was addressing the 16th Session of EMRIP, currently being held in Switzerland.

Minister Sukhai told the UN forum that Guyana is on an aggressive path of inclusive, equitable and sustainable development as the Government builds “One Guyana”.

She said the country’s indigenous people have an equal and relevant place in the efforts to build “One Guyana”.

“Given the historical and geographical challenges that the Indigenous peoples have faced, the Government of Guyana has remained committed to removing any existing gaps through the promotion of policies and decisions to promote Indigenous Peoples’ rights,” she told the global indigenous leaders.

The Amerindian Affairs Minister said cognizant of the contributions that the Indigenous people continue to make throughout the world, the Guyanese Government under its Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), has set aside 15% of all revenues earned from the sale of the country’s carbon credits for Indigenous communities.

The funds, she said, are being used to roll out the Village Sustainable Plans across Indigenous communities across the country.

The Amerindian Affairs Minister told the UN forum that the LCDS is based on extensive consultation with Indigenous peoples and their leaders including the National Toshaos’ Council in direct adherence to FPIC.

“Guyana continues to prioritize Indigenous Peoples development through the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs currently being held under my portfolio, which provides direct investment to Indigenous Villages and Communities to be utilized in a manner that has been determined by the people. This is done through the provision of ‘Presidential Grants’ & investments funds which are utilized for infrastructure, social or economic projects within Villages; capital investment which enhance long term benefits propelling Village economy and infrastructure development to ensure access to amenities and markets, securing land tenure, food security, income generation and employment and Indigenous Peoples’ sustainable livelihoods,” she further told the Indigenous Forum.

Further, she said the Government has embarked on annual capacity building programmes to enhance skills and knowledge of Indigenous leaders and young people, through scholarship programmes as well as Youth Entrepreneurship and Apprenticeship Programme and Leadership and Governance Training.

Minister Sukhai was accompanied by Ms Miriam Andrew-Ming, Legal Officer at the Amerindian Affairs Ministry.

The Expert Mechanism provides the Human Rights Council with expertise and advice on the rights of Indigenous Peoples. It also assists Member States in achieving the goals of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

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