AFC meets Amnesty International on Human Rights abuses in Guyana
Apart from meeting with officials of the US State Department recently whilst on a trip to that country by Alliance for Change Chairman Khemraj Ramjattan on financial irregularities and improprieties in Guyana, the party also met with Amnesty International on Human Rights abuses here.
Amnesty International is a global organisation that campaigns for internationally recognised human rights for all.
The AFC delegation met with Kathryn Striffolino, International Advocacy Associate Director (Latin America), for Amnesty International.
This newspaper understands that a presentation was made to the body as it relates to the Human Rights state-of-affairs in Guyana, which was largely consistent with the dossier compiled by Joint Opposition Political Parties (JOPP) last year.
Specific reference was made to the case involving Twyon Thomas and the Attorney General of Guyana which is presently before the High Court.
Mentioned was also made of a number of other cases where there were allegations of torture.
Thomas is the teenager who was tortured and burnt on his torso and genitalia with methylated spirits by ranks of the Guyana Police Force whilst in custody.
Mention too was made by the team on what they called the stifling of freedom of expression by the State such as when applicants, who having won their cases in court, like CN Sharma, cannot get their licences to set up radio stations and extensions to supply their TV services nationally.
This newspaper understands that Strifollino was surprised that there was only state radio in Guyana in this age.
The team also dealt with issues of the Guyana Government’s extremely friendly relations with Iran and other countries in the Mid East of a non-democratic character.
Raised, too, were the important issues of rights of minorities, especially as it related to what the team described as “so-called consultations, pertaining to the LCDS; and, the Mc Dougal Report concerning discrimination and marginalisation of Afro-Guyanese.”
A number of documents which the team had compiled, including the dossier prepared by the JOPP, were given to Striffolino.
This newspaper understands that she was particularly interested in the reports of police brutality incidences and wanted to know if anything was being done to better the Guyana Police Force.
To this query the AFC delegation informed that there is more talk than action on this issue but the non-acceptance of British assistance of some $1.6 B and the refusal to facilitate the setting up of a DEA office in Guyana reflect no urgency to move to a more professional Force.
She also queried as it relates to the expeditious nature of the Justice System and was told by the AFC team that it is very slothful notwithstanding timelines being adumbrated within which Judges should give their decisions, “a proposed four months period.”
The two bodies concluded their meeting with a forging of ties for greater co-operation in future.