Isseneru hopes for in-village meeting with gov’t to discuss solutions

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The Isseneru Village Council is hopeful for a meeting in the village with President Dr. Irfaan Ali and members of government to discuss much-needed solutions after a landmark rights ruling found that the villagers’ rights were violated.

This meeting, the council said in a press release, is crucial since it will allow all members of the community to participate in discussions on compensatory actions needed.

Despite comments offered by Amerindian Affairs Minister Pauline Sukhai in a recent News Room report, the council does not believe that the upcoming National Toshaos Council conference will be the ideal venue to have discussions on solutions for them.

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

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.

See below full release from the Isseneru Village Council:

Isseneru Village is pleased to hear from a News Room GY report on 16 June that Minister Sukhai supports putting in place measures of reparation for the rights violations we have experienced. We would welcome His Excellency President Ali and his ministers to visit our village to discuss the measures that would be required as reparations for the material and immaterial damages we have suffered in accordance with the decision of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

We do not believe that the National Toshaos Conference is the appropriate forum for this discussion, however. The NTC Conference is a forum for the toshaos from all the villages in Guyana to engage with one another and discuss common priorities across the country. However, the Conference only involves the participation of the toshaos and not all of our villagers, and there is no time at the Conference for detailed discussions on specific village issues.

Discussions around reparations for our rights violations should occur in our village, with all community members present. They must also occur with the President and those Ministers who are responsible for implementation of the recommendations. We will need to begin in-depth discussions with those relevant authorities around, among other things, legal recognition of the full extent of our traditional lands; restitution of the lands that have been taken over by mining interests without our consent; and various forms of compensation for the damages we have suffered.

We look forward to reading the Government’s report to the Commission and to working together as equal partners in implementation of the Commission’s recommendations. We are disappointed that the Government has not yet come to meet with us to discuss the Commission’s decision, but we are hopeful that such a meeting will happen soon and that we will be given adequate notice to prepare for the same.

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