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SASOD Guyana and The Human Dignity Trust (HDT) – a UK-based organisation working to challenge laws that persecute people on the basis of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity – have embarked on a process to examine the occurrence of hate crimes in Guyana.
In early 2021, the two organisations commissioned “A Situational Analysis on Hate Crimes in Guyana” which was conducted by Guyanese researcher Pere DeRoy, a social scientist and doctoral candidate at the University of Kansas in the USA, to document the nature and extent of hate crimes based on prejudices related to race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality in Guyana.
The preliminary results of the research have highlighted the need for more discussion and dialogue on prejudice in Guyanese society, SASOD said in a release. SASOD Guyana and HDT are working to condense the situational analysis into a short summary chapter which will be accompanied by chapters examining the local legal context, and the international context and good practice principles, which together will inform the approach to be taken to address hate crimes in Guyana.
Recently the two organisations hosted introductory workshops on hate crimes to raise awareness and receive feedback on the preliminary results of the situational analysis from key stakeholders in Guyana. From Tuesday, March 22, to Thursday, March 24, 2022, SASOD Guyana and HDT held three, half-day workshops with civil society groups. The workshop sessions successfully engaged a wide range of civil society groups, especially from the Guyana Equality Forum.
On Wednesday evening, March 23, there was also a special workshop with Guyanese human rights lawyers. The workshops were led by Joel Simpson, Managing Director of SASOD Guyana, and Naomi Lumsdaine, Senior Lawyer at HDT. There was consensus among civil society groups who noted the need to build a coalition to support reform and to better protect racialised groups, gender and sexual minorities, and other marginalised groups from hate crimes. The two organizations committed to continue working together to finalize the report on hate crimes and disseminate the findings widely in Guyana, whilst building further consensus among civil society and other key stakeholders on a comprehensive approach to tackle hate crimes.