Indigenous Rights

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Guyana is home to some 69,000 indigenous people who occupy the majority of the interior of the country. The nine distinct peoples – the Akawaio, Arawak, Arekuna, Carib, Makushi, Patamona, Wapichan, Warrao, and Wai Wai – live for the most part according to their traditional ways, with minimal impact on the forest ecosystem. While some of the indigenous communities have legal titles to part of their ancestral lands, many are seeking further legal recognition in accordance with their traditional occupancy and use of their customary lands, territories and resources.

The indigenous peoples of Guyana have a number of concerns, some of which include land and territorial rights, rights to free, prior, and informed consent, inadequate legislative protections, and problems related to the extractive industries sector including mining and logging. These issues have been recently exacerbated with the increase in the price of gold on the international market and the rapid pace of development of policies and funding initiatives related to REDD+ and climate change initiatives. These have left some indigenous peoples with concerns on how the ownership of their lands and territories can be affected. These issues are described in the sections below:

– Land and Territorial Rights
– Current Legislation
– Climate Change and Low Carbon Development Initiatives
– Extractive Industries and Infrastructure Development