Red Thread wants parliament debate on children and violence

Stabroek News
May 1, 2003

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The mother of each child hurt or killed as a result of the ongoing crime wave has a right to know what those in charge have done or not done to solve the crimes, says women’s advocacy group, Red Thread.

It is therefore calling for the urgent convening of a special, single-issue sitting of the National Assembly to debate an official statement from the Minister of Home Affairs on violent crime.

This sitting, the group said, should place special reference to the killing of Joshua Bell and to the safety of Guyana’s children in general.

This was the call during a press briefing yesterday which marked the end of the 312-hr round-the-clock vigil on Vlissengen Road outside the Office of the President.

This vigil had commenced on April 17.

A statement from the women’s group said that the impetus for the vigil was the kidnapping and murder of 16 year-old Joshua Bell. The group was outraged at the contrast between the inaction of the authorities with the Bell incident and the flurry of activity which followed the kidnapping of the United States diplomat, Stephen Lesniak.

Participants in the vigil included school colleagues of Bell, teachers, lawyers, members of the judiciary, businesspersons and Members of Parliament. Groups which joined in were: Women Against Violence Everywhere (WAVE), G+ (Guyanese Living with HIV/AIDS), the Joint Initiative for Humanity and Development (JIHAD), Ethnarch for the Kingdom of Manumitted Africans of Guyana, the Guyana Youth and Students Movement (GYSM) and the University of Guyana Student Society (UGSS).

A partial list of young people killed or wounded has been put together by Red Thread and is to be extended continuously.

Internationally, the vigil had the full backing of the Red Thread supporters’ network in Toronto, Canada, and the Global Women’s Strike, which is a network of women in over 70 countries.

In calling an end to the vigil, Red Thread and the other members of the community said they are far from calling an end to the campaign against violence and racism in Guyana.

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