The following is the release from the Amerindian People Association of Guyana:
To the Guyana Police Force, we ask the following:
What were the SOPs employed in dealing with allegations against Minister Dharamlall – a senior Cabinet member?
Was there any confrontation between the child and the accused?
How often and for what period were the child and her younger sibling interrogated by the police?
The APA remains concerned for the child’s well-being and that of her family.
Allegations of this nature require an enormous amount of strength to be made and we are hopeful that the child is receiving the right mental health and trauma care.
This will inevitably shape her future and we view the “instruction” as alleged by the Guyana Police Force to be nothing, but a culmination of the enormous pressures placed on this child and her family.
We call on all Guyanese to ensure that this matter is not swept under the carpet.
We call, especially, on our indigenous brothers and sisters to demand that the child is protected, and this matter be independently investigated. The protection of our children should be of paramount importance and value to all.
We call on the State to uphold its constitutional obligations to protect its citizens – our women and children. The government need only refer to ratified documents such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child, particularly Article 34, that speaks to the role of the government in protecting children from sexual abuse.
This must further be informed by General Recommendation No. 39 on the rights of indigenous women and girls from the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. The recommendation provides guidance on the obligations of the State to appropriately respond to the sensitive contexts that make indigenous women susceptible to violence and discrimination at all levels.
The government has the tools needed to respond to this case in a manner that respects the interests of the child and upholds justice.
The APA vows to continue to fight for the protection of basic human and other indigenous peoples’ rights and will engage with United Nations and other regional mechanisms to ensure that justice is served.