Guyana has not been on the UNHRC. But as a recipient of UPR concerns, the country reveals a troubling resistance to concerns raised over LGBT rights, torture and compliance and participation in international human rights norms.  On women’s rights and general issues of state abuse it is more cooperative.       

In other international matters, Guyana also has a spotty record, most troublingly ranking third in the region behind El Salvador and Honduras with a female homicide rate of 9.3 per 100,000 women. The country currently does not have any specific law on femicide, and has been accused of not enforcing what was once thought to be a progressive law on women rights. In the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Guyana scored a 0 out of 3 for its lack of cooperation with the regional judicial body. In two separate OAS votes concerning democratic violations in Venezuela, Guyana did vote first in favor of hearing Secretary General Luis Almagro’s report on the situation in the country and later on a OAS-General Assembly resolution condemning the unconstitutional constituent assembly. Not coincidentally Guyana has a land dispute with neighboring Venezuela in which the latter country claims close to a third of the southern country’s oil-rich territory and off-shore drilling rights.

Below is a breakdown of Guyana’s actions and votes at the various venues we are monitoring. For more information click on each title and summary.


Freedom House   
Freedom Status  Free
Aggregate Score (100 is perfect freedom and protection of rights) 74
Political Rights (scores out of 40, with 40 being the best)  31
Civil Liberties (scores out of 60, with 60 being the best) 43
Reporters Without Borders  
       World Press Freedom Index (scores out of 100, with 1 being the best) 26.63
Transparency International  
Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 41/100
Global Rank 83/180
World Justice Project  [1]  
Rule-of-Law Index  0.50
Regional rank  17/30
Global rank 73/128
UN Human Development Index  
 Human Development Index (HDI) 0.682
 Global rank 122
Americas Quarterly [2] (last report 2016)  
Social Inclusion Index N/A
Regional rank N/A

United Nations System:

United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC or Council)

Guyana has never been on the Council. [expandableHeadline]Read more[/expandableHeadline][expandableContent]

UNHRC’s Universal Periodic Review

As part of its mandate to promote human rights around the globe, the UNHRC has instituted a Universal Periodic Review, where, once every four years, each country’s human rights record is examined. Other countries are invited to review the record and make comments and suggestions for improvement. The country under review then acknowledges each comment by either “accepting” the comment, meaning typically that they agree to focus on, or “noting” it, indicating that they disagree and will not be focusing on improvements in this area.

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As recipient: Guyana received 147 recommendations. Accepted 88, noted 59. (only select topics listed below)

Area Received Accepted Noted
Civil society  2  1  1
Elections  –  –  –
Enforced disappearances  1  –  1
Extrajudicial executions  1  1  –
Freedom of association and peaceful assembly  –  –  –
Freedom of opinion and expression  2  –  2
Freedom of religion and belief  –  –  –
Freedom of press  2  –  2
Human rights defenders  1  –  1
Human rights violations by state agents  5  5  –
Impunity  –  –  –
Indigenous peoples  3  3  –
Internally displaced persons  –  –  –
International instruments  30  6  24
Justice  10  5  5
Migrants  –  –  –
Minorities  4  4  –
Racial discrimination  1  1  –
Sexual orientation and gender identity  17  3  14
Torture and CID treatment  14  1  13
Women’s rights  41  36  5
Total 103 53 50

Note: some comments are classified under multiple categories.

As commenter: Guyana has not participated in the UPR process as a commentator.

Note: This data is for the 2nd cycle of the UPR. However, the final round of countries were reviewed in November/December 2016, and that data is not yet available to include in our analysis here.[/expandableContent]

UN NGO Committee

Guyana has not been on the committee since 1993.

Inter-American System:

OAS Permanent Council

Under the new leadership of Secretary General Luis Almagro, the OAS has re-found its focus on promoting democracy around the region.  This was shown most clearly in a meeting in June 2016 where Almagro presented his report on the state of democracy in Venezuela and proposed invoking the Inter-American Democratic Charter.

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Guyana voted in favor of the OAS Permanent Council’s hearing of Secretary General Luis Almagro’s report on the situation regarding democracy and human rights in Venezuela under the Inter-American Democratic Charter.

At the 2017 OAS General Assembly, it voted in favor of a U.S.-Mexico backed resolution that urged the Venezuelan government not to convene a constituent assembly that would rewrite the Venezuelan constitution; but abstained from voting on a CARICOM backed resolution that called on Venezuela to reconsider leaving the OAS.  [/expandableContent]

Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR or Commission)

Guyana has not supported the IACHR financially and in the one case we monitored it did not cooperate.

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Hearing Issue Score
 161st Human Rights Situation for Young People in Guyana 0/3

Voluntary financial contributions to IACHR (as of Sept. 16, 2016) 

Year Contributions by Guyana Percentage of Total
Contributions to IACHR


Electoral Missions

Guyana has had six OAS electoral missions, the latest mission monitored the country’s general elections in 2020. There have also been missions in 2015, 2011, 2006, 2001, and 1997.

Freedom of Information Laws

Since 2000 the right to information and freedom of information laws have expanded across the region. However, the existence of the laws on the books does not necessarily mean full enforcement.

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Signatory/Participant in MESICIC* Yes
Constitutional protection* No
Specific law enacted* 2013
Is there a presumption of right* Yes
Scope/Exceptions/Overrides* Only Guyanese citizens and residents can access information; requires address and telephone number; can only disclose information accurately
Received information under FOIA law?** N/A
Received information within a week?** N/A
Received the appropriate information?** N/A

*Data taken from the Global Right to Information ratings, provided by the Center for Law and Democracy. 
**Information from the 2015 World Justice Project Open Government Index


Women’s rights:

Protecting women against gender-based violence is a human rights issue often overlooked globally even though it crosses social, economic and national boundaries. And according to the United Nations Population Fund, gender-based violence undermines the health, security, dignity, and autonomy of its victims. Although 16 countries in Latin America had modified their laws to include a specific type of crime referring to the murder of women by 2015, they are not uniformly implemented, and practices to convict perpetrators of gender-based violence are still extremely weak. A 2016 report published by the Small Arms Survey found that Latin America and the Caribbean is home to 14 of the 25 countries with the highest rates of femicide in the world.

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With a female homicide rate of 9.3 per 100,000 women, Guyana has the third highest rate of female homicide in Latin America, behind El Salvador and Honduras. While Guyana currently does not have any specific law on femicide, in 1996, Guayana passed the Domestic Violence Act which, at the time, was acclaimed as progressive for its broad scope and inclusion of verbal, physical, sexual and psychological abuse. However it has been inconsistently implemented and the government has provided little information on if the law has helped reduce the level of violence against women.


[1]WJP Rule-of-Law Index measures 4 principles: 1) The government and its officials and agents as well as individuals and private entities are accountable under the law; 2) The laws are clear, publicized, stable, and just; are applied evenly; and protect fundamental rights, including the security of persons and property and certain core human rights; 3) The process by which the laws are enacted, administered, and enforced is accessible, fair, and efficient; 4) Justice is delivered timely by competent, ethical, and independent representatives and neutrals who are of sufficient number, have adequate resources, and reflect the makeup of the communities they serve.
[2] AQ Social Inclusion Index uses 23 different factors to measure how effectively governments are serving their citizens, regardless of race or income, and is published annually by Americas Quarterly at the Americas Society/Council of the Americas.
[3] Hearings were scored by Global Americans on a scale of 0 to 3 to evaluate government participation. 0 indicates that the government did not send any representatives to participate. If representatives were present, they were scored from 1 to 3 based on how engaged the representatives were, 1 indicating that they objected to the hearing, to the jurisdiction of the Commission to review the topic or dismissed there being any issue to discuss. A score of 3 indicates full participation of the government, including acknowledgment of the issue and its importance, the jurisdiction of the Commission to review and engagement on how this issue will be addressed going forward.
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