IDPADA-G never filed discrimination complaint with ERC – Commissioner

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Chair of the Guyana Reparations Committee Eric Phillips alongside Neaz Subhan, Head of the Ethnic Relations Commission

See full statement from the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC):

The International Decade of People of African Descent Assembly – Guyana (IDPADA-G) has never filed a complaint of discrimination with the Ethnic Relations Commission. This was confirmed by Commissioner of the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC), Neaz Subhan as he participated in a thematic discussion on Culture and Recognition at the 3rd Session of the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday.

He explained that the ERC is a constitutional body with a 24- point mandate to foster social harmony, promote and respect ethic, cultural and religious diversity, and is the only one of its kind in the Caribbean region, whose mandate provides for it to investigate complaints of racial discrimination and marginalization.

“Our Commission, in its efforts to deliver its mandates, will continue to stand firmly against all forms of racial discrimination and to contribute towards building a harmonious and cohesive society under the rubric of One Guyana,” the Commissioner stressed.

While acknowledging the ongoing challenges faced by people of African descent worldwide in the recognition and practice of their culture, Subhan, said he remains encouraged by the continuous support provided by the Government of Guyana to various organizations and communities of People of African descent. He highlighted that over GY$1.8 billion has been distributed in the last three years to promote and preserve culture and develop sports infrastructure, with the International Decade of People of African Descent Assembly – Guyana (IDPADAG) receiving the largest allocation of GY$360M.

Subhan explained that Guyana’s Constitution provides for fundamental rights and freedoms, including freedom of expression, religion, association, and gender equality. He noted that Article 149 prohibits discrimination on various grounds, including culture.

“Of particular interest to this panel is Article 27 (2) which stipulates that ‘it is the duty of the state to provide education that would include curricula designed to reflect the cultural diversities of Guyana’ and Article 35 ‘honours and respects the diverse cultural strains which enrich society,’ the Commissioner added.

He went on to note that despite the inhumanity of slavery and colonialism, the descendants of Africa in Guyana have preserved their culture through cuisine, music, dance, and storytelling for centuries.

“The tapestry of Guyanese society is enriched and intrinsically interwoven with the culture, customs and practices of the descendants of Africa in everything we do,” he added.

Subhan underscored the importance of recognizing and preserving the diverse cultural heritage of Guyana’s multi-ethnic society.