UN Rapporteur on Racism hails Govt.’s anti-racism position
July 17, 2003
Visiting UN Special Rapporteur on Racism and Xenophobia, Mr. Doudou Diene, who paid a courtesy call on President Bharrat Jagdeo last Tuesday, informed him of how well received was the Government’s willingness to entertain the visit.
Head of the Presidential Secretariat (HPS), Dr. Roger Luncheon, at his weekly news conference yesterday, said Mr. Diene would be meeting a cross-section of state, government and non-government bodies in compiling his report. He would also meet Government Ministers and state functionaries and visit various parts of the country, he added.
Asked what prompted the Rapporteur’s visit, Dr. Luncheon replied that it is not cause related but a periodical reviewing of the compliance with the articles and agreements contained in the international convention on racial discrimination of which Guyana is a signatory. “For the most general level, one would say, it is in keeping with the expected provision of information about compliance with the convention, and this visit will no doubt reflect some attention created by the submission to the UN body of claims of racial discrimination taking place in Guyana and calls for further investigations to those claims, he added.
Government Information Agency (GINA) quoted Mr. Diene as saying: “They invited me to come and I take this as a willingness by the Government for me to fulfill my mandate and help specifically for what I came to do here in Guyana, which is a most comprehensive and objective assessment of the communities and race relationships and also the drafting of recommendations that can help or cultivate the solution which the Guyanese people will have to find.”
From the meetings he has had so far, Mr. Diene said he has found that Guyana has the disadvantage of having race-related problems dating back to colonial rule, but quoting French a philanthropist Diene added, “the important thing is not what history has made of us, but what we are making of what history has made of us.”
He noted that the United Nations will closely work with countries to iron-out its racial xenophobia, and, based on the information garnered, a report will be complied, complete with recommendations, to be submitted to 60th session of the Commission on Human Rights in March next year.