Human rights are rights that are inherent to all human beings, irrespective of sex, nationality, religion, language, sexual orientation or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination.
While most countries in the Caribbean have ratified various human rights treaties, many persons across the region still face some form of discrimination. In response to this, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have been formed in an effort to address these issues. One such organization is the Guyana’s Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD).
SASOD Guyana is a human rights movement and organization, leading change, as well as educating and serving communities to end discrimination based on sexuality and gender. SASOD Guyana is committed to promoting human rights of all people, especially those facing discrimination in Guyana.
This organisation was formed in 2003 by mostly students who were advocating for the inclusion of sexual orientation as grounds for discrimination in the Guyana constitution. SASOD Guyana seeks to have discriminatory laws repealed which criminalize lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people, while advocating for the enactment of laws to protect the human rights of these marginalized groups.
SASOD Guyana provides and links the LGBTQ + community to many services as well as delivering three (3) programmes in order to achieve its goals. These are described as the 3 ‘H’ agenda: Human Rights, Homophobia(s) Education and Human Services programmes.
More so, in an effort to challenge the injustices and discrimination, SASOD engages in multi-pronged advocacy. The organisation lobbies and engages government to change laws and policies which discriminate against LGBTQ + people, and utilizes the United Nations and Inter-American Human Rights systems to pressure and hold the State accountable for its human rights obligations to LGBTQ+ people.
The organisation has many notable achievements such as conducting a two-day training workshop where 153 police officers from across the country were trained in Gender, Sexuality and Human Rights. SASOD Guyana also played a critical role demolishing a colonial-era law that criminalised cross-dressing and disproportionately penalised transgender and gender non-conforming persons.
Besides the extensive advocacy work being done by SASOD, the organisation has also implemented several projects to aid their community. Most notable is the COC PRIDE Programme aimed at removing obstacles which prevent the LGBTQ+ from realising their rights. It was funded by COC Netherlands.
The organisation has also implemented The Shared Incident Database (SID) Project, funded by the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC) and implemented in a number of regional countries. The main objective of this initiative is to document and store and digitise reports of human rights violations, for research purposes and can be utilised as evidence to
engage in public policy advocacy.
If you would like to learn more about the organisation, partner or collaborate with SASOD Inc, click on the link below to access their contact information.