The Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) and United Kingdom-based organisation, The Human Dignity Trust (HDT) have teamed up to embark on a process to examine the occurrence of hate crimes in Guyana.
Last year, the two organisations commissioned “A Situational Analysis on Hate Crimes in Guyana” which was conducted by Guyanese researcher Pere DeRoy, a social scientist and doctoral candidate at the University of Kansas in the USA.
That report documented the nature and extent of hate crimes based on prejudices related to race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality in Guyana.
The research highlighted the need for more discussion and dialogue on prejudice in Guyanese society.
SASOD Guyana and HDT have announced that they have been working to condense the situational analysis into a short summary chapter which will be accompanied by chapters examining the local legal context, and the international context and good practice principles, which together will inform the approach to be taken to address hate crimes in Guyana.
Last week, introductory workshops on hate crimes were hosted to raise awareness and receive feedback on the preliminary results of the situational analysis from key stakeholders in Guyana.
The workshops were led by Joel Simpson, Managing Director of SASOD Guyana, and Naomi Lumsdaine, Senior Lawyer at HDT.
There was consensus among civil society groups that noted the need to build a coalition to support reform and to better protect racialized groups, gender and sexual minorities, and other marginalised groups from hate crimes.
The two organizations plan to continue working together to finalize the report on hate crimes and disseminate the findings widely in Guyana, whilst building further consensus among civil society and other key stakeholders on a comprehensive approach to tackle hate crimes.