Human rights, equal opportunities a top priority
Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce Oneidge Walrond at the UN Forum
Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce Oneidge Walrond at the UN Forum

–Minister Walrond affirms at Permanent Forum of People of African Descent

APART from safeguarding the rights of people of African descent within the legal realm, the assurance that they are granted equal access to social and economic programmes such as free education, quality healthcare and access to housing and water is a top priority for the Government.
That’s according to Oneidge Walrond Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce during her address at the Permanent Forum of People of African Descent, which is being held in New York.
The Permanent Forum on People of African Descent, which is being held under the theme, “Realising the dream: A UN Declaration on the Promotion, Protection, and Full Respect of the Human Rights of People of African Descent”, opened on May 31 and concludes on June 2.
The Minister applauded the work done by the Forum while also reaffirming the Government of Guyana’s commitment to maintaining the dignity of individuals of African origin by defending their human rights under our legal system.

According to a press release: “In similar vein, she spoke of the commitment to ensuring equitable access to the social and economic programmes of the government such as free education, healthcare and access to housing and water, which collectively represent more than one third of our national budget.”
She further highlighted the several instruments in place to protect people from discrimination and prevent any infringements on their human rights.

The release read: “In terms of the legal and institutional framework she underscored the guarantees provided in the Constitution to the right to protection from discrimination on the grounds of race, gender, and religion amongst other characteristics; the Racial Hostility Act; and the establishment and work of the Ethnic Relations Commission.”
While pointing out that Guyana is a member of the CARICOM Reparations Commission and has also established a National Reparations Committee of Afro-Guyanese leaders, Minister Walrond also expressed Guyana’s strong support for reparations for the historical atrocities associated with slavery and the slave trade.

She concluded by indicating that “Guyana is a multi-ethnic society striving to forge unity and harmony amongst our diverse peoples. We will, therefore, continue to support the work of this Forum, including the elaboration of a Political Declaration on People of African Descent.”
Minister Walrond leads Guyana’s delegation and includes two members of the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC), Mr. Sheikh Moeenul-Hack (Chair of the ERC); and Mr. Deon Earl Dick (Ras Khafra) and Dr. Erica Forte. The delegation is joined by Permanent Representative, H.E Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett and Ms. Abosede Hazlewood, Second Secretary.


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