GCCI calls for amendment of Prevention of Discrimination Act
At an event held to commemorate the 33rd International AIDS Candlelight Memorial at the Catholic Life Centre, Brickdam, Georgetown on Sunday evening, Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) President Vishnu Doerga called on the Government to amend the 1997 Prevention of Discrimination Act.
He urged that sexual orientation, gender identity and health status be included so that this would result in non-discrimination in
Doerga told the seventh national Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) Candlelight Memorial Vigil, which was hosted by the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD), “We must seek to empower people living with HIV to stand up for their right to live a life free of stigma and discrimination. In this regard, it is important for us to ensure that our organisations are free from stigma and discrimination through workplace programmes for our staff.”
He noted the value of engaging people, communities, governments, donors and the Private Sector in eliminating the scourge and supporting those living with HIV. The objective of the vigil was to bring together affected communities, policymakers, health professionals, religious leaders and members of the public to show solidarity and support for persons infected and affected by HIV, and to encourage people to continue to act together to end stigma and discrimination.
It was highlighted by Doerga that to engage, educate, and embolden people living with HIV as well as marginalised populations would serve as a vital enabler towards achieving Guyana’s human rights goals, and enhanced equity for our people.
The GCCI President believes that the Private Sector has the capacity to play an essential role in this and limiting the spread of HIV.
“We have a responsibility to educate the current and next generation about HIV prevention, treatment and care, and how it affects our lives. Employers have a moral responsibility to ensure that employees are educated and have access to relevant information and resources,” he said.
The GCCI President cited the barriers to accessing services for key populations as stigma and discrimination, noting the urgent need to end this since it affected persons living with HIV including sexual and gender minorities, sex workers and young people.
Doerga indicated that the Private Sector, a key stakeholder, must take control and contribute to workplace education programmes in order to continuously address HIV in Guyana.“As the HIV response moves to long-term sustainability in Guyana, Private Sector involvement is crucial. I pledge the support of GCCI to join hands with all of you here in national efforts to bring an end to AIDS in Guyana.”