PBI-Guatemala observes demonstration by organizations rejecting the approval of Law 5257

Published by Brent Patterson on

On February 18, the Peace Brigades International-Guatemala Project posted, “In the morning we observed the demonstration in front of the Congress of several organizations rejecting the approval of Law 5257, a law that regulates non-governmental organizations.”

Publinews Guatemala reports that on Tuesday February 11, 81 deputies voted in favour of Law 5257, 12 against it, and that there were 67 absent legislators.

PBI-Guatemala has previously explained, “The Guatemalan Congress has been debating initiatives which, if approved, could weaken the rule of law even more and worsen the human rights situation. Of particular concern is the Law on Non-Governmental Organizations (initiative 5257), which would give the Interior Ministry the power to impose penalties on NGOs and void their status as such, making it difficult for them to operate in defense of human rights.”

Last February, Amnesty International commented, “Bill 5257 would impose undue restrictions, controls and sanctions on non-governmental organizations (NGOs), threatening the rights to freedom of expression and association in the country.”

This Prensa Libre article notes particular concerns with Articles 7, 10, 13, 14 and 22 in Bill 5257.

La Vanguardia reports, “Article 13, one of the most controversial, [says] that non-governmental organizations will not be able to use donations or ‘external financing’ to ‘carry out activities that alter public order’ in national territory. ‘If an NGO uses donations or external financing to alter public order, it will be immediately canceled’ and ‘its responsible executives will be charged in accordance with current criminal and civil legislation’…”

El Universo adds, “President Alejandro Giammattei told reporters that he will analyze the decree law that approves the reforms before deciding whether to enact or veto it, although he insisted that Guatemalans ‘without exception’ must ‘learn’ that transparency should govern the management of public funds.”

Bill 5257 is now also referred to as Decree 4-2020.

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