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Guyana

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Last updated on 06.11.2017 at 14:14

Guyana-Overview

With a population of just under 750,000, though Guyana is geographically part of South America it is culturally and politically part of the Caribbean and a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

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Workers mobilise over wages, working conditions and privatisation of sugar estates

Workers mobilise over wages, working conditions and privatisation of sugar estates

A few demonstrations took place in Guyana demanding better working conditions

Peaceful Assembly

In August 2017, workers mobilised to protest for better remuneration and working conditions. Many were either not being paid on time or were given very small amounts for their services. With the Guyana Public Service Union's help, the workers organised a two-day protest outside of the Ministry of Finance. There were no reports of the protest turning violent or being disrupted by the authorities.

In a separate incident on 12th September 2017, a protest against the privatisation of a sugar estate in Guyana was held during which Komal Chand, President of the Guyana Agricultural Workers Union, asserted that "the government has not been putting the needs of the people first". Chand further claimed that "the government failed to make good on their promises to hopeful Guyanese of a better Guyana”. There are serious concerns that the continued privatisation of the sugar estates in the country could leave thousands jobless. 

Association

People in Guyana are able to form and join associations to advance collective interests.

People in Guyana are able to form and join associations to advance collective interests. The constitution protects this right, and in practice people are able to exercise it without hindrance. Many civil society organisations operate in the country and work on a wide range of issues. Human rights defenders are able to carry out their work in an enabling environment. However, due to discriminatory legislation and attitudes towards LGBTI people, activists working on these issues face more challenges.

Peaceful Assembly

People in Guyana are able to gather and demonstrate, and protests are fairly common.

People in Guyana are able to gather and demonstrate, and protests are fairly common. The freedom of peaceful assembly is protected under the Constitution. In practice, most of the protests take place peacefully; however, in the recent past there have been instances of police repression. For example, in 2012, during a community protest against rising electricity prices, police responded with excessive force and fired live ammunition, killing at least three protestors and injuring many others.

Expression

The media landscape in Guyana is dominated by stated owned media, while privately-owned media outlets sometimes face harassment and intimidation.

The media landscape in Guyana is dominated by stated owned media, while privately-owned media outlets sometimes face harassment and intimidation. Private media face additional economic challenges as they have to compete with government outlets for advertising. Although there are no documented recent cases of criminal prosecution against journalists, defamation is still a criminal offense under the Criminal Law, and civil suits are still used against journalists by government officials. Guyana enacted an access to information law in 2011, however proper implementation is still lacking.