UN backs Guyana Amerindians' efforts to control natural resource projects

GEORGETOWN, Guyana – A United Nations agency is urging Guyana to review the practice of granting mining permits and concessions in indigenous communities before obtaining consent from Amerindians who live there.

The letter was issued this week by the U.N.’s Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. It comes after the Amerindian People’s Association wrote the U.N. to complain that although Amerindians received land titles from the government, they have no power to prevent miners from working in or near their villages.

Spokeswoman Jean LaRose said Saturday that the group has repeatedly sought permission from the government to prevent miners from exploiting indigenous people’s lands.

Attorney General Anand Nandlall has said the government will not consider the group’s request.