ERC received 80 religious and racial complaints in 2023


The Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) received 80 religious and racial complaints in 2023 and its investigative unit has made significant strides in achieving varying degrees of resolution.

At a press conference on Wednesday at Cara Lodge, Georgetown, Chairman of the ERC, Shaikh Moeen-ul-Hack revealed that 11 complaints were withdrawn, seven investigations were concluded and three cases were closed.

“Given the recorded high numbers of racial and religious infractions received, in this regard, the commission has settled most cases via softer means of dispute resolution such as mediation and reconciliation and to the lesser extent, through forwarding cases to the police for prosecution,” the ERC Chairman stated.

Additionally, 23 cases remain open while five cases required police intervention, and 10 were directed to external agencies, demonstrating a comprehensive approach to each complaint.

A further 26 cases are yet to be investigated and two cases were resolved through conciliation.

“Emphasizing conciliation and mediation has allowed for amicable solutions in instances where both parties are cooperative, demonstrating the effectiveness of these dispute-resolution mechanisms. However, the process is not without challenges. For example, complainants may not provide the basic details required for a proper investigation to commence, undermining the work of the department,” the Chairman explained.

Hack also noted that the investigative unit’s steadfast commitment to resolving discrimination issues has been evident throughout the year. Through meticulous investigations, resolution facilitation, and strategic collaborations, the ERC said it remains dedicated to promoting an equitable society where every individual’s rights are safeguarded.

To confront any form of discrimination, the ERC’s Media Monitoring Unit plays a pivotal role in scrutinizing mass media content across platforms like social media, television, radio, and newspapers.

Additionally, in 2023, the ERC hosted a Code of Conduct signing for local government elections and deployed observers to ensure electoral integrity.

Hack also revealed that the ERC engaged in stakeholder meetings across various groups, including political parties, diplomatic corps, and educational institutions.

Going forward, the ERC reaffirms its commitment to promoting harmony and good relations, recognizing the importance of sustained engagement and collaboration in achieving its vision for a harmonious Guyana.


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