There were attacks on freedom of expression. Marginalized communities had difficulty in accessing treatment for HIV/AIDS. Twenty-three people were on death row. Death sentences continued to be passed. No executions were reported.
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) was returned to office for a fourth consecutive term following peaceful general elections in August. The murder in April of Satyadeow Sawh, the PPP Agriculture Minister, had created fears of a recurrence of political violence between supporters of the mainly Indo-Guyanese PPP and the opposition People’s National Congress (PNC), which is principally Afro-Guyanese.
Freedom of expression
Five newspaper employees and an opposition journalist were killed.
Five employees of the newspaper Kaieteur News were shot execution-style on 8 August at the newspaper’s printing plant. The motive for the killings was unclear, although the owner of the newspaper had allegedly received threats over the coverage of a series of rapes in the capital, Georgetown. Three men were charged with the killings.
Ronald Waddell, a journalist, radio talk show host and former candidate for the PNC, was shot outside his home in a Georgetown suburb on 30 January. According to eyewitness reports, two men shot him repeatedly as he was getting into his car. He died later in hospital. No one had been charged with the murder by the end of 2006.
People living with HIV/AIDS
Despite positive steps to ensure the right to health, stigma and discrimination towards HIV/AIDS remained a barrier to the successful implementation of treatment. The Indigenous Amerindian population had particularly limited access to HIV/AIDS-related health care and information. Men who have sexual relations with other men were criminalized and discriminated against, which restricted their access to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care. There were reports of people being dismissed from their jobs on the basis of their HIV status. Violations of the rights to privacy and confidentiality contributed to the spread of the disease by discouraging people from seeking an HIV test or treatment.
AI country reports/visits
• “I am not ashamed!”: HIV/AIDS and human rights in the Dominican Republic and Guyana(AI Index: AMR 01/002/2006)
AI delegates visited Guyana in January.