Current Legislation

The Amerindian Act of 2006 replaced the outdated 1951 Amerindian Act.  Despite consultations and the receipt of extensive recommendations, the Act falls far short of indigenous demands and international law.  In its Concluding Observations on Guyana in 2006, the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) found that in many regards the Act was incompatible with the UN Convention Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.  Among other concerns, the Act gives too much discretionary power to the Minister of Amerindian Affairs in terms of limiting indigenous land rights. CERD has concluded that there is an urgent need for adequate procedures and clear and just criteria to resolve land claims. These concerns dovetail with those of indigenous communities, as reflected in the other two documents attached.

Finally, as described above, the procedures and regulations put forth in the Amerindian Act for the demarcation and titling of indigenous peoples’ lands (Sections 59 – 64) are not consistent with international standards and obligations, nor do they respect indigenous systems of customary tenure.  The Act allows for the titling of village lands, but does not provide for the recognition of the territories and resources used by indigenous communities, which is a violation of international law.  The Act does not set out procedures that are transparent, fair, and objective, and depends overly on the Ministry’s decision of what is “reasonable” or not, in an arbitrary manner.  The Act also imposes conditions, such as how long a village has been there, and sets arbitrary limits on the population size eligible for title.


Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination”, Guyana, March 2006

Amerindian Act 2006