Everyone has the right to justice
Stabroek News
May 5, 2002

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Dear Editor,

In our modern times, the United Nations has found it wise to formulate a Universal Declaration of Human Rights - a charter that adumbrates the rights of every human being.

The accused or criminal certainly has inalienable rights to justice. However, so do the victims, and law-enforcement authorities. To keep emphasising the rights of criminals while seemingly ignoring those of the victims is being biased. Amnesty International, the umbrella organisation, and human rights organizations in each territory should be more objective in their assessment of the crime situation.

For many years, Guyana has had a high crime rate. Interpol in the seventies, rated Guyana with the second highest rate in the world after Lebanon. Since our population is so tiny, our rate is naturally high.

If we were to list the various categories of crime, we would have a wide variety. In these modern days, Guyana still has pirates on the high seas.

The PNC Government formed the target squad in the Burnham era. Crime became violent since the sixties and is even worse now. Most bandits have guns and commit the most heinous crimes, injuring or killing their victims. Persons have been robbed of millions of dollars over the years.

It is all well and good to condemn extra-judicial killings by the police. What about when the criminals execute, slay or assassinate their hapless victims in cold blood? The police often get killed or wounded in confrontation with criminals.

Let us be fair: everyone has the right to justice. The criminal, the victim, even the police have rights individually and must be given an opportunity to have those rights vindicated.

Yours faithfully,

M. Clarke