GEPAN got word from Orealla that a group of fishermen from the village was arrested by the Suriname coast guard patrolling the Corentyne River.

The report we received indicates that the men were conducting regular traditional fishing when the coast guard arrested them and took them across to Suriname. There they were detained and returned the following day. They were also warned that this should not happen again. The Arawak settlement of Orealla-Siparuta predates the establishment of the Guyana and Suriname national boundaries.

The people in Orealla – Siparuta total some 1005 individuals mainly of Arawak descendance. They depend mainly on the river for their daily livelihood and subsistence, as well as to travel to different parts of Guyana. Now, these fundamental human rights are being violated by overt disrespect of Surinamese coast guards.

Additionally, the traditional customs and livelihood of indigenous peoples across the world are recognised and protected by a specific international framework, cemented by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

In an effort to have the matter addressed by the relevant authorities in Guyana, GEPAN has requested the intervention of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Carl Greenidge.

The request is available for public consultation at: GEPAN – Address to Hon. Carl Greenidge on border incident

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