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Guyana approves new sexual offences legislation

Published:Saturday | April 24, 2010 | 12:00 AM


The Guyana parliament has passed new legislation that places special emphasis on rape as well as reforming and consolidating the laws relating to sexual offences.

Human Services and Social Security Minister Priya Manickchand, who piloted the Sexual Offences Bill, said that critical to its success would be the proper training of the various stakeholders for its implementation.

"We have to train our service providers and we are going to be making stringent efforts to target particular service providers to ensure that this bill is implemented in the way that it is should, so that victims of sexual abuse could receive justice and hopefully this will deter persons who are so inclined to perpetrate sexual violence," she told legislators.

Manickchand praised persons and organisations that were instrumental in seeking to change the lenient way in which rape cases were dealt with and drafted recommendations aimed at protecting victims of rape.

Manickchand said that since 1989, there have been many calls for the rape laws to be changed and that four years ago, the ruling party in its manifesto promised to institute comprehensive sex offences legislation.

She said in 2007, the 'Stamp It Out' document, drafted by attorney Laura Gyte, was launched and "contained proposals to strengthen protection against sexual violence and reform the law on sexual offences and it was circulated widely across Guyana".