New Amerindian Rights Center Advocates for Indigenous Peoples of Guyana
As of March 29, 2000, citizens in Guyana have had access to legal representation provided by the first-ever facility of its kind, the Center for Amerindian Rights and Environmental Law. The center was created through a collaboration between the Guyanese Amerindian Peoples Association and The Rainforest Foundation in partnership with one of Guyana's leading lawyers, Melinda Janki. The center will offer communities a comprehensive range of services and training, with the goal of protecting their basic rights as well as an environment that is increasingly threatened by mining and logging. The center promotes Indigenous Peoples' understanding of and access to the laws and policies that affect them, and supporters are excited about this new opportunity for Indigenous Peoples to come closer to their goal of self-determination. As Executive Director Laurie Parise noted, "The opening of the center is a major step towards...empower[ing] indigenous and traditional peoples.... This is our mission, to help communities in their quest to determine their own fate and future."
Article copyright Cultural Survival, Inc.