– International Human Rights body tells Govt.
The Inter American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has ordered the Guyana government to provide
within 15 days information to the Commission on the steps the government intends to take to protect Kaieteur News and its staff.
Guyana is a member of the IACHR. The order stemmed from a report to the commission by Christopher Ram following the release of a telephone recording between Attorney General Anil Nandlall and Kaieteur News senior reporter, Leonard Gildarie.
“After analyzing the factual and legal arguments put forth by (Christopher Ram) the commission considers that the information presented demonstrates prima facie that the members of Kaieteur News journal are in a serious and urgent situation since their lives and personal integrity face an imminent risk of irreparable harm.”
It ordered that the government provide updated information periodically.
“Given that the present precautionary measures have been granted without having previously requested information from the State, the Commission will review this decision once it receives reports from both parties.”
The Commission informed Guyana that it must adopt the necessary measures to protect the lives and personal integrity of (Glenn Lall, Adam Harris and Leonard Gildarie); agree on the measures to be adopted with the beneficiaries and their representatives; and report on the actions taken to investigate the alleged facts that gave rise to the adoption of this precautionary measure in order to prevent their repetition.
The facts are contained in a recorded telephone conversation between Attorney General Anil Nandlall and Kaieteur News senior reporter, Leonard Gildarie.
This conversation was released to the public by Kaieteur News.
The commission noted, “During the conversation, the Attorney General purportedly threatened Kaieteur News’ staff
and revealed knowledge of a possible attack against them.”
“Although Mr. Glenn Lall made a formal complaint to the police concerning the purported threats uttered by the Attorney General against the newspaper, ‘[…] no form of action has been taken against (Nandlall.)
The Inter-American Commission and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights have repeatedly established that precautionary and provisional measures have a dual nature, precautionary and protective.
Regarding their protective nature, the measures seek to avoid irreparable harm and preserve the exercise of human rights. Regarding their precautionary nature, the measures have the purpose of preserving a legal situation being considered by the IACHR.
Their precautionary nature aims to preserve those rights at risk until the petition in the Inter-American system is resolved.
In the present situation, the Commission considers that the requirement of seriousness is met, in light of the alleged threat expressed against the lives and personal integrity of the Kaieteur News personnel, within the framework of their right to freedom of expression.
The commission noted, “In particular, the information presented suggests that the purported threat was oriented toward preventing the members of Kaieteur News from freely exercising their role as journalists, related to a series of reports on corruption cases, among other issues, which allegedly affected high ranking officials within the Government.
“In addition to the purported threats, it is worth mentioning that the IACHR Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression closely followed up the situation of freedom of expression and of reporters in Guyana, and condemned the reported murder of workers from Kaieteur News in 2006.
“Moreover, concerning the purported context of violence against reporters in Guyana, the allegations presented appear
to be consistent with recent information received by the IACHR in that regard.”
The Commission said that it considers prima facie that the rights to life and personal integrity of the three identified members of the Kaieteur News journal face a situation of risk.
The publication of the taped conversation between the Attorney General and Mr. Leonard Gildarie and the alleged lack of an investigation would increase the apparent situation of risk faced by the proposed beneficiaries, the commission said.
“It appears that the Kaieteur News staffs are presently in a situation of risk without any form of protection.”
“The Commission also requests that the Government of Guyana provide information, within the period of 15 days from the date that the present resolution is issued on the adoption of the required precautionary measures.”
Here is the full statement issued by IACHR
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