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48th Session of the Human Rights Council

Item 4 - General Debate
Joint Statement7

Delivered by Luis Felix Chocojay Guamuch

 

Thank you, Madam President,

The political and economic instability in Guatemala is extremely worrying. There is currently a clear weakening of the rule of law that has been intensifying since 2019, and that has been the cause of massive protests in the territory by various sectors, indigenous communities, peasants, and civil society in general.

The weakening of institutions has aggravated the situation in the country.8 Particularly the Supreme Court of Justice and the Constitutional Court have been subjected to clear attacks through irregularities in the appointment of its members and the lack of impartiality of the people appointed.

Similarly, and despite the concerns expressed by United Nations experts,9 the so-called NGO Law was approved at the beginning of the year, with a favorable decision by the Constitutional Court and subsequent approval and sanction by the president. This law permits the executive branch to cancel the registration of NGOs and associations and allows the criminalization of members of such organizations that use international funding for activities that affect the public order.10 This is happening in a context of widespread and systematic harassment, persecution, and criminalization of human rights defenders. This is the case for Bernardo Caal Xol.11

According to UDEFEGUA, from January to June 2021 there have been 551 attacks against human rights defenders, organizations, and communities.12

We call on this Council to urge Guatemala to respect and protect human rights defenders, repeal the NGO Law, adopt, and implement a comprehensive Public Protection Policy to prevent further attacks against them, and to guarantee the independence and impartiality of judges and magistrates.

Thank you, Madam President.


7 This statement is supported by 61 Non-Governmental Organizations. See annex.

8 The World Organization Against Torture, (2020, August 28), Guatemala: New executive measures dismantle the rule of law and the fight against impunity. https://www.omct.org/es/recursos/noticias/guatemala-new-executive-measur... of-law-in-guatemala-and-reverse-the-fight-against-impunity
9 The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), (2021, July 1), Guatemala: UN and OAS experts sound the alarm at the “suffocating” law on NGOs. https://www.ohchr.org/SP/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=27248&...

10 The World Organization Against Torture, (2020, February 28), President Giammattei consolidates the restriction on freedom of association by sanctioning decree 4-2020. https://www.omct.org/es/recursos/llamamientos-urgentes/el-presidente- giammattei-consolida-la-restricci%C3%B3n-a-la-libertad-de-asociaci%C3%B3n-al-sancionar-el-decreto-4-2020#_ftn1
11 The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), (2021, July 27), Guatemala: Stop treating indigenous human rights defenders as criminals – UN experts. https://www.ohchr.org/SP/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=27343&...

12 The Unit for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders of Guatemala (UDEFEGUA) published in a statement: "Retrogression of democracy in Guatemala: the situation regarding attacks on individuals, organizations and communities defending H.R.

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Annex

  1. Alianza Politica Sector de Mujeres -APSM-

  2. AMMID

  3. Anne Marie Deruyttere Indigenous Peoples Foundation

  4. Aqua Alimenta

  5. ASERJUS

  6. Asociación B'elejeb' Tz'i'

  7. Asociación Coordinadora Comunitaria de Servicios para la Salud ACCSS

  8. Asociación de Agricultores Las Ilusiones (AGRIDIVI)I

  9. Asociacion de Desarrollo Aj Awineleb ́ re ́ Tzuul Taq ́a

  10. Asociación Maya para el Buen Vivir

  11. Bread for all / Pan para todos

  12. Campaña Guatemala sin Hambre

  13. CÁRITAS VERAPAZ

  14. Centro Ak' Kutan

  15. Centro de Estudios para la Equidad y la Goberzanza de los Sistemas de Salud

  16. CIDSE

  17. CNCD-11.11.11

  18. Colectivo de Organizaciones Mayas de Guatemala - KOMON MAYAB'-

  19. Consultora Las Caracolas / FCA Cap Giatemala

  20. Dominicans for Justice and Peace

  21. Dreikönigsaktion, Hilfswerk der Kath. Jungschar Österreich

  22. Espacio de Confluencia de Personas Defensoras. ECO - DH

  23. Fastenopfer

  24. Foro de Organizaciones Sociales Especializadas en Seguridad - FOSS -

  25. Franciscans International

  26. Fundación Economía para el Desarrollo FEDES

  27. Fundación Guillermo Toriello FGT

  28. Fundación Tierra Nuestra

  29. Grupo belga Solidair met Guatemala

  30. Guatemala-Netz Zürichpage3image60237760page3image60232768page3image60236608page3image60234688page3image60236224page3image60234880page3image60232576

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31. ICW Latina
32. Instituto de Enseñanza para el Desarrollo Sostenible -IEPADES-
33. Instituto DEMOS
34. JPIC Familia Franciscana de Guatemala
35. JPIC Familia Franciscana de Honduras
36. KM207 Guatemala Suisse
37. La 72, Hogar - Refugio para personas migrantes
38. Medico international schweiz
39. Movimiento de Mujeres Indígenas Tz'ununija'
40. Mujeres con Valor construyendo un futuro mejor - MUVACOFUM-
41. Organización de Mujeres Tierra Viva
42. Organización Mundial contra la Tortura
43. Otra Guatemala Ya
44. Pacto Ciudadano
45. Peace Brigades International
46. Peace Watch Switzerland
47. Plataforma Internacional contra la Impunidad
48. Protección Internacional Mesoamérica
49. Quixote Center
50. Red de la No Violencia contra las Mujeres-REDNOVI
51. Red de protección y monitoreo PMH
52. Red europea de Comités Oscar Romero (SICSAL-Europa)
53. Red Franciscana para Migrantes
54. Red Guatemala-Suiza de Berna
55. Red Guatemalteca Mujeres Positivas en Acción
56. Red Internacional de Derechos Humanos - RIDH
57. Red Nacional por la Defensa de la Soberanía Alimentaria en Guatemala REDSAG 58. Seguridad en Democracia (SEDEM)
59. Solidaridad con Guatemala de Austria
60. Unión Nacional de Mujeres Guatemaltecas UNAMG
61. Vivamos Mejor

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