We stand in solidarity with all child survivors of sexual offences

Dear Editor,
The disappearance of the medical reports and birth certificates of the nine boys allegedly raped by Neezam Ali from the court files warrants an immediate and through investigation, including enquiry as to all who had access to the files and thus the opportunity to remove evidence. No one must be exempt from the investigation.
The fact that this sexual offence case has languished in the court system for so many years, in effect denying these nine young child survivors of sexual assault their right to a fair trial within a reasonable time, is a violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Guyana has signed and ratified.
The Sexual Offences Act paper committals provisions have been under appeal for a number of years since former (now retired) acting Chief Justice Ian Chang twice ruled in favour of the accused in two sexual offence cases and found that the provisions violate the constitutional rights of those charged with sexual offences to confront their accusers.
It is well known that rape and other sexual offences leave survivors physically and psychological traumatised, many never fully recovering from the brutality and horror of what has been perpetrated against them. The fact that these nine child survivors now stand to be denied their right to justice is in itself criminal, points to corruption in the court system and exposes Guyana as a country where access to justice and justice itself can apparently be perverted.
We will not stand by and allow the rights of Guyanese children to be trampled on by the executive, legislative or Judicial branches of the State. We stand in solidarity with these nine boys and all other child survivors of sexual offences who continue to be denied justice and the right to a life free from violence.
We call on the UN agencies in Guyana, and in particular UNICEF and all rights organisations to speak out publicly against the violation of the rights of child victims of sexual violence and to do all in their power to ensure that such rights are effectively protected.

Yours faithfully,
Danuta Radzik – Help & Shelter
Karen de Souza – Red Thread
Patricia Sheerattan-Bisnauth – GRPA
Vidyaratha Kissoon