IOM calls for Prevention Against Discrimination Act to be amended

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….to include, migrants, LGBTIQ+ people 

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), in a recent report, recommended that the Prevention Against Discrimination Act in Guyana be amended to include migrant status, and persons of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ+) community. It is also pushing for the decriminalisation of homosexuality under the Criminal Law (Offences) Act.

The recommendations formed part of a recent report entitled ‘Guyana Needs Assessment on Migration Governance.’

The Guyana Needs Assessment on Migration Governance was implemented by IOM under the Western Hemisphere Program (WHP), funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.


In addressing the vulnerabilities of women and girls the report noted government’s commitment to enhancing officials’ capacity on gender-based violence referrals. It said too that the implementation of electronic passports, the collection of migration data across borders, and the facilitation of automatic information-sharing between migration-related entities can significantly improve Migration Governance in Guyana.

During the virtual launch of the report, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Guyana and Coordination Officer for the Caribbean, Robert Natiello, said that the Guyana Needs Assessment on Migration Governance is part of a series of other reports that covers the Caribbean and Central America. Natiello explained that the reports address the challenges and opportunities that exist through well managed migration management policies.

“The report for Guyana has been contextualised to the countries’ particular situation and provides key information to support the government in understanding current migration governance systems and the steps we can take to improve those systems,” the IOM official said.

He added that IOM is currently working with the Government of Guyana on the development of the Guyana Migration Profile. This profile will provide a summary of the state of migration in the Guyana and will contribute to the development of migration policy and law.

In his address, Foreign Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Robert Persaud, said that the Guyana Needs Assessment on Migration Governance comes at an opportune time in the country’s national development.

“We recognise that migration and its potential socioeconomic impact on the country must be carefully considered,” said the government official. “We are cognisant that a comprehensive whole-of-society response must be formulated and supported, as well as properly implemented.”

Foreign Secretary Persaud explained that the Government of Guyana has worked closely with the IOM on projects that provide data to better understand the impact of migration and is committed to work towards creating policies that would lead to successful migration governance.

Persaud said a better migration governance policy will guarantee that all the people of Guyana, both native and foreign born will be able to contribute to society. The official noted that the Guyana Needs Assessment also complements the work of the Migration Profile.

IOM, through the WHP, conducts research to provide governments with evidence on which to base the development and review of policies and practices related to migration and migration governance.

According to IOM, the report provides an easy-to-use tool and reference for government officials and other stakeholders on which to base proposals and activities. Importantly, the report is divided into six themes to guide policymakers’ consideration on the areas relevant to their field as it relates to migration governance.

These thematic areas include: Migration Policies and Adherence to International Standards, Migration and Border Management, Migrant Protection and Assistance, Migration Management in Situations of Emergencies and Disasters, Migration and Health, Labour Migration and Human Development.

“Among the report’s findings were that the specific needs of migrants are not considered in policy documents, particularly in relation to disaster risk reduction. Thus, it is possible that many migrants are not being reached by crisis plans and communications. To address these concerns the study recommended that language translations for emergency situations and essential migration information be available in Spanish, Portuguese, Indigenous languages, and Haitian Creole. This would offset the negative impacts of environmental changes as drivers of forced migration,” IOM reasoned.

IOM also underscore the need to manage labour migration. It said there needs to be a development of a multi-agency coordination mechanism.  It said too that Government should also develop and implement a labour policy and strategy with provisions on the integration of migrants into the formal labour force.

IOM is a United Nations organization working on migration issues.  It was established in 1951 and is the leading intergovernmental organization in the field of migration, committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society.  In 2016 IOM became part of the United Nations as the first agency specialized in all areas of migration.

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