1. The Committee considered
the second periodic report of Guyana (CCPR/C/GUY/99/2) at its 1829th to
1830th meetings, held on 24 and 27 March 2000, and adopted at its 1836th
meeting on 30 March 2000 the following comments:
2. The Committee expresses
its satisfaction at the submission of the second periodic report of Guyana.
It welcomes the opportunity to examine the State party's report after
over a decade in which the State party has failed to fulfil its reporting
obligations under article 40 of the Covenant. The Committee regrets that
the report deals with the situation only up to 1987 and that it fails
to provide information on the practical implementation of rights protected
by the Covenant.
3. The Committee welcomes
that copies of legislation were provided by the State party during the
session, but regrets that the delegation was unable to provide full information
on the current situation in the State party in answer to the list of issues
and the Committee members' questions. The Committee notes that the list
of issues was provided to the State party some months before the session.
Some helpful written information was provided to the Committee during
the discussions but did not address all the questions posed.
4. The Committee notes with
satisfaction the efforts being made by the State party to harmonize many
aspects of the domestic legal order with international standards in its
transition to democratic rule.
5. The Committee welcomes
the enactment of the Domestic Violence Act in 1996 and its extension to
C. Principal subjects of concern and recommendations
6. The Committee is concerned
that not all Covenant rights have been included in the current Constitution
and therefore cannot be directly enforced. No information was provided
as to how the rights that are enumerated in the Constitution are given
effect and how their violations are remedied. The Committee notes that
a Constitutional reform process is near completion in the State party,
but regrets that the Delegation could not provide specific information
as to how the enjoyment of Covenant rights will be ensured by the new
7. The Committee regrets the
continued application of the death penalty and is particularly concerned
that in some cases the procedural safeguards of fair trial may not have
been respected in imposing the death penalty, contrary to articles 6 and
14 of the Covenant.
The State party should ensure
that all Covenant rights are implemented in domestic law and should
give consideration to including those rights in the new Constitution.
It should also explain how the new Caribbean Court of Appeal will affect
the remedies available to alleged victims of human rights violations.
8. The Committee regrets the
lack of information concerning the right to legal assistance in practice
for persons charged with criminal offences and urges the State party to
ensure that its obligations in that regard under article 14 of the Covenant
are fully met.
The State party is encouraged
to consider the abolition of the death penalty. The State party must
take measures to ensure strict compliance with procedural safeguards
in all criminal cases.
9. The Committee regrets that
the State party has not taken steps to implement the Committee's Views
in respect of communication No. 676/1996 (Yasseen and Thomas v. Guyana)
under the Optional Protocol.
The State party is urged
to fully implement the Committee's Views in communication No. 676/1996
and to formally withdraw its reservation made on its re-accession to
the Optional Protocol. The State party should consider adopting appropriate
procedures for taking into account the Committee's Views under the Optional
10. The Committee is deeply
concerned about allegations that extrajudicial killings by the police
take place in the State party and at information received alleging widespread
police brutality. The Committee is further concerned that the State party
was unable to provide information about specific incidents to which the
Committee drew attention.
Allegations of extrajudicial
killings and excessive use of force should be promptly investigated
by an impartial body and measures taken to ensure the prosecution of
offenders and to provide effective remedies to victims. All law enforcement
officials should be thoroughly trained in international human rights
standards, particularly those contained in the Covenant (arts. 6, 7
11. The State party should
include detailed information in its next report about the role and functions
of the Police Complaints Authority, measures taken to ensure its independence
and impartiality, its relationship with other police investigative mechanisms
and the implementation and effectiveness of its decisions and recommendations
(arts. 6 and 7).
12. The Committee is concerned
that corporal punishment is still resorted to in the State party and regrets
the lack of specific information on this issue.
The State party should take
legal and other measures to eliminate this practice (art. 7).
13. The Committee is concerned
at the low level of participation by women in the workforce and in the
conduct of public affairs. It regrets that the State party could not provide
any information on the application and effect of the Anti-Discrimination
Act of 1997 or the Equal Rights Act of 1990. It is also concerned at the
apparent conflict between article 29 of the Constitution, which mandates
equal rights for women and men, and article 149 (3) (b), which excludes
from the prohibition on discrimination laws dealing with marriage, divorce,
The State party is urged
to take positive measures to ensure equality of opportunity for women
in all fields and to ensure that the principles of equality and non-discrimination
on all grounds and in all areas of activity are fully implemented in
the new Constitution.
14. The Committee is concerned
that the Domestic Violence Act of 1996 appears to have been applied in
very few cases and at the lack of information relating to its impact in
reducing the level of violence against women.
Police and other law enforcement
personnel should be trained to understand the importance of ensuring
that women who are victims of violence are accorded equal protection
and that preventive and punitive measures are enforced.
15. The Committee regrets
that the law relating to the arrest and charge of suspects does not appear
to ensure compliance with article 9 of the Covenant in that it does not
provide for persons to be brought promptly before a judge or provide an
enforceable right to compensation against the State in case of unlawful
arrest. The Committee regrets deeply that the periods of pre-trial detention
are prolonged for as long as three or four years.
The State party should review
its laws on arrest and detention and should take effective legal and
other measures to reduce the period of pre-trial detention and to ensure
full compliance with article 9 ((3) and (5)) of the Covenant.
16. The Committee expresses
its profound concern that children, including children under 10 years
of age, are held in detention on remand.
The State party should take
immediate steps to ensure that children are not held in detention together
with adults and that young children are not held in detention at all
(arts. 10 (2) and 24).
17. The Committee expresses
deep concern over dire prison conditions (art. 10 of the Covenant), including
poor sanitation and lack of adequate food and medical care, resulting
in disease and death. This is exacerbated by the excessive recourse to
imprisonment as a punishment or as a preventive measure and by the overcrowding
The State party is reminded
of its obligation under article 10 to ensure that all persons deprived
of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for
the inherent dignity of the human person. It is encouraged to consider
greater use of alternative forms of punishment or preventive measures.
18. The Committee notes proposals
to recruit part-time and temporary judges, to deal with the backlog of
cases waiting to be tried.
The State party is urged
to ensure that these measures do not undermine the competence, independence
and impartiality of the judiciary.
19. The Committee is concerned
that freedom of expression may be unduly restricted by reason of the government
monopoly of radio broadcasting. It is also concerned at the lack of specific
remedies for journalists who have been subjected to violence or harassment
by the police or other authorities (art. 19).
The State party should remove
restrictions on freedom of expression which are incompatible with article
19, paragraph (3), and should ensure that effective remedies are available
to any person whose rights under article 19 of the Covenant have been
20. The Committee is concerned
at insufficient attention being paid to the need for multi-ethnicity within
the police force, and at reports of considerable ethnic tension and at
manifestation of incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence on
The State party should encourage
recruitment to the police force of members of all ethnic communities,
and ensure strict compliance with article 20 (2) of the Covenant by
enforcing the prohibition of incitement to racial hostility and by taking
measures to reduce ethnic tension between all the different groups in
21. The Committee regrets
the delay by the State party in amending the Amerindian Act, and is concerned
that members of the indigenous Amerindian minority do not enjoy fully
the right to equality before the law. It is particularly concerned that
the right of Amerindians to enjoy their own culture is threatened by logging,
mining and delays in the demarcation of their traditional lands, that
in some cases insufficient land is demarcated to enable them to pursue
their traditional economic activities and that there appears to be no
effective means to enable members of Amerindian communities to enforce
their rights under article 27.
The State party should ensure
that there are effective measures of protection to enable members of
indigenous Amerindian communities to participate in decisions which
affect them and to enforce their right to enjoy their rights under the
22. The Committee draws the
attention of the State party to the new guidelines of the Committee on
the preparation of reports (CCPR/C/66/GUI/Rev.1). The third periodic report
should be prepared in accordance with those guidelines, with particular
attention paid to the implementation of rights in practice. It should
indicate the measures taken to give effect to these concluding observations.
The third periodic report should be submitted by 31 March 2003.