Upcoming Toshaos’ Conference may help find solutions for Isseneru rights issue

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The government has been asked to find compensatory solutions for the villagers of Isseneru after a ruling found that their rights were violated and Minister of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Sukhai believes that the upcoming National Toshaos’ Council (NTC) conference may facilitate that much-needed discourse.

A landmark ruling from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) found the rights of the indigenous people living in Isseneru in Region Seven (Cuyuni- Mazaruni) were violated after mining concessions were granted on their ancestral land.

Minister of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Sukhai

The IACHR recommended that key compensation measures be provided to the Isseneru villagers for the “material and immaterial” damages suffered.

The government has already committed to responding to the recommendations of the body and the Isseneru village council had said it would propose compensatory solutions to the government.

Asked if the government intends to engage the leaders of Isseneru on those solutions, Sukhai said that the upcoming NTC conference could allow for that.

“…the government as a member state of the United Nations (UN) will have to best address it.

“It has to be addressed at some point in time and I suppose the NTC is a platform through which a direction could be devised,” the Amerindian Affairs Minister told the News Room on Wednesday.

This conference, which was last hosted in 2019, will be held on July 11 to 15 at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre at Liliendaal, Georgetown.

Sukhai explained that this conference allows indigenous leaders to connect and engage with each other, and with the Executive branch of Government- that is, the President and his cabinet.

Importantly, the minister said that all pressing matters, be it those on mining, land titling or interventions for disaster relief, will be addressed at this forum.

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