Skip to main content arrow-down arrow-tail-right arrow-triangle-right calendar camera compass download email eye facebook flag mail phone pin play send square-right tag twitter youtube badge message

Moving Away From the Death Penalty in Guyana

  • News
  • 13 Nov 2018

On 12-14th November 2018, a delegation of international experts on the death penalty will visit Guyana to address the use of capital punishment in the country and prospects for moving towards abolition. The delegation has been organised with the support of the European Union and the British High Commission in Guyana. Saul Lehrfreund, Co-Executive Director of The Death Penalty Project (UK) will be joined by Randy Susskind, Deputy Director of Equal Justice Initiative (USA) and Surinamese parliamentarians the Hon. Ms. Krishnakoemarie Mathoera and the Hon. Mr. Patrick Ciciel Kensenhuis. The international delegates will be supported by senior Guyanese lawyer C. A. Nigel Hughes, who will provide expertise on the death penalty in Guyana.

Although Guyana has not carried out any executions since 1997, death sentences continue to be imposed and there are currently 17 people on death row. Guyana’s continued retention of capital punishment marks it as an outlier not only within the region, as it is the only South American country that still has the death penalty, but also on the global stage, where a majority of the world’s nations have now abolished capital punishment.

The death penalty was imposed on Guyana through British colonial rule. Since then the UK has rejected capital punishment and today is vocal in advocating for global abolition. A combination of factors were behind the UK’s decision to abolish the death penalty in 1965, including a recognition that the punishment disproportionately affects the most marginalised and vulnerable members of society and, importantly, could not be imposed without error, arbitrariness and cruelty. This was made clear by several high-profile executions which raised concerns that the innocent, mentally disabled and vulnerable were being executed.

Wrongful convictions remain a distressing reality wherever the death penalty is imposed. In 2016, at least 60 death row prisoners were exonerated around the world. The inevitability of error in capital sentencing will be a recurring theme throughout the delegation. In particular, attention will be drawn to the experience of the USA, where for every nine people executed one death row prisoner has been exonerated.

Meetings will be held with policymakers and key stakeholders including senior government ministers, members of parliament, the Bar Association of Guyana, criminal law practitioners and human rights advocates. A public lecture will also be held at 9 am on 13th November 2018 at the National Library in Georgetown to promote debate and increase understanding of key human rights issues relating to the use of the death penalty in Guyana.

Watch our new video ‘Failed Justice: Innocent on Death Row‘ exploring the issue of wrongful convictions.

 

Latest news

Capital sentencing and judicial attitudes towards the death penalty in India and Bangladesh
Read More
Press Release: The Death Penalty and Illegal Executions in Saudi Arabia
Read More
The Death Penalty and Executions in Saudi Arabia
Read More
Compounded Violence: Domestic Abuse and the Mandatory Death Penalty in Ghana and Sierra Leone
Read More
Delegation to Guyana on Sentencing in Capital Cases
Read More
Aron John, former death row prisoner, regains freedom after 16 years in prison in Malawi
Read More
New term, new chance to reevaluate death penalty
Read More
Zimbabwe court declares corporal punishment on juvenile offenders to be inhuman and humiliating
Read More
‘Always against the death penalty, except in the case of my father’
Read More
African Court of Human and People's Rights rejects mandatory death penalty challenge on technical grounds
Read More
Poor knowledge underlines death penalty support: study
Read More
New reports on public opinion and unsafe convictions provide momentum for reform of capital punishment in Taiwan
Read More
Moving Away From the Death Penalty in Guyana
Read More
Why John Hayes MP is so wrong on the death penalty
Read More
Malaysia could lead way in abolishing death penalty
Read More
Launch of new resource: ‘Sentencing in Capital Cases’
Read More

Stay up-to-date with our work

Skip to toolbar