Head of state and government Bharrat Jagdeo
Death penalty abolitionist for all crimes
Population .8 million
Life expectancy 66.5 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f) 66/47 per 1,000
Adult literacy 99 per cent
There were reports of human rights violations by the security forces, including unlawful killings and torture and other ill-treatment. Three people were sentenced to death; no executions were carried out.
In October, Guyanese national Roger Khan was sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment in the USA on charges including drug smuggling. Following his conviction, the Guyanese government announced a police investigation into Roger Khan’s involvement in a "death squad", whose members included serving and former police officers and which was reportedly responsible for the torture, enforced disappearance or killing of more than 200 people between 2002 and 2006.
In November, a coalition of opposition parties published a dossier of unsolved killings committed since 1993, including cases of unlawful killings by the security forces and former death squads, and called for an international inquiry.
Torture and other ill-treatment
There were reports of torture and ill-treatment by the security forces.
- Three people detained in connection with a murder were tortured and ill-treated at Leonora police station in October. On 27 October, a 15-year-old boy was badly beaten and his genital area set alight when he refused to sign a confession. He was released without charge four days later and admitted to hospital. The day before, 26 October, Deonaradine Rafik had also been badly beaten and forced to sign a confession. He was charged with murder on 30 October and held in pretrial detention until charges were withdrawn and he was released on 3 December. Nouravie Wilfred was held incommunicado for seven days and ill-treated before being released without charge on 3 December. Three police officers were awaiting trial on charges of "unlawful wounding" at the end of the year.
Violence against women and girls
A Sexual Offences Bill, which proposed amending existing gender-discriminatory legislation, was tabled in July and remained before the National Assembly at the end of the year.
Rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people
Archaic colonial laws continued to be used to discriminate against people on grounds of their sexuality.
In February, seven people were convicted and fined under an article of the Summary Jurisdiction(Offences) Act, which criminalizes cross-dressing for both men and women.
Right to health
In April, a National HIV/AIDS Workplace Policy was introduced. Stigma and discrimination towards people living with HIV/AIDS, however, remained a barrier to the successful implementation of treatment, particularly for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Violations of the rights to privacy and confidentiality also continued to discourage people from seeking an HIV test or treatment.
Three people were sentenced to death. There were no executions. Forty-one people were on death row at the end of the year.
Guyana: Tortured Guyanese man may face unfair trial (6 November 2009)