The Wapichan People of Guyana Host the Global Justice Clinic Team to Advance the South Rupununi District Council’s Community-led Water Monitoring Program

The Global Justice Clinic (GJC) of NYU School of Law has been working with the South Rupununi District Council (SRDC)—the indigenous legal representative body for the Wapichan People of Guyana—since 2016. SRDC has taken immediate action to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic to protect their communities, but threats posed by mining and other land violations remain. GJC supports SRDC’s community-led program to monitor rights violations including from environmental degradation caused by illegal mining. Recently, GJC created an updated water monitoring form, which community monitors use to collect data in the field, and a water monitoring handbook, which guides monitors on how to complete the form and understand the legal and scientific basis for questions in the form. GJC students have provided data analysis and advocacy support for monitoring activity undertaken by the SRDC for several years.

In February 2020, SRDC hosted GJC representatives at Aishalton and Parabara villages in the South Rupununi of Guyana. During this trip, the GJC team workshopped the water monitoring handbook with community monitors, field tested the water monitoring form in Wapichan water sources, and presented the handbook to the community at large. GJC team members also assisted SRDC data managers to analyze monitoring data and share findings with the Wapichan community.

As the threat of large-scale mining in the South Rupununi grows, SRDC’s community monitoring program is increasingly important. This program allows the community to gather its own data on rights violations and advocate for their rights with national and international bodies. GJC works with international partners, such as the Forest Peoples Programme and Rainforest Foundation, to share knowledge, skills and tools so that Wapichan people can know, use and shape the law to realize their rights. This legal empowerment approach supports the SRDC in its continued fight against the contamination, pollution, and destruction of their ancestral lands, including the sacred Marudi mountain in the Amazon Rainforest—a critical watershed at the source of Guyana’s main waterways, and the surrounding territory. 

Click here for more information on the clinic’s work. Visit the SRDC website here.



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