Violence is never an option

Dear Editor,

THE Guyana Red Cross is deeply concerned by the senseless loss of life, namely that of Joel and Isaiah Henry of West Coast Berbice, and that of Haresh Singh amongst others, and the actions which have led to destruction of property and life.
The Guyana Red Cross offers deepest condolences to the families and relatives of the young men.
This community, and, by extension, the country is in a very fragile state. Taking into consideration the recent acts of violence, there is great need for urgent, sincere and holistic support for this humanitarian situation.
While violence is pervasive and complex, it is not inevitable. Violence can be prevented, mitigated, and responded to. For this to occur, however, the underlying root causes must be addressed through comprehensive, evidence-based, persistent and coordinated action.
The International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) has defined violence as: “The use of force or power, either as an action or omission in any setting, threatened, perceived or actual against oneself, another person, a group, or a community that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in death, physical injury, psychological or emotional harm, mal-development or deprivation.”

Community violence is a type of interpersonal violence that takes place at the community level, ( urban settings) between people who may or may not know one another. Common forms of community violence include gang violence, violence by supporters of sports teams, mob attacks and sporadic crime.

Structural violence is related to “non-physical acts or indirect forms of violence that have emerged from historical experiences, and are woven into social, economic and political systems”. Structural violence is “built into the structure of society… and shows up as unequal power, and consequentially as unequal life chances.” Self-directed or interpersonal violence can constitute structural violence, if they are built into societal systems. Examples include the failure of public systems or other institutions to fulfil their responsibilities without discrimination and violence.

As a member of the IFRC, the Guyana Red Cross believes that a culture of non-violence respects human beings, their well-being and dignity; it honours diversity, non-discrimination, inclusiveness, mutual understanding and dialogue, willingness to serve, cooperation and lasting peace. It is a culture where individuals, institutions and societies refrain from harming others, groups, communities or themselves. It means a commitment to positive and constructive solutions to problems, tensions and the source of violence. Violence is never an option.
The Guyana Red Cross appeals to the authorities to have dialogue with a wide cross-section of the community, civil society, and other stakeholders to develop strategies to bring an end to this humanitarian crises, and to work to develop a culture of non-violence.

Yours sincerely,
The Guyana Red Cross Society

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