PBI-Guatemala presents joint statement to UN Human Rights Council on the situation in Guatemala

Published by Brent Patterson on

On March 15, PBI-Guatemala advocacy coordinator Kerstin Reemtsma presented a joint statement to the UN Human Rights Council on behalf of PBI, Franciscans International and the International Human Rights Network.

To watch that presentation, click here (chapter 63 starting at 01:35:34).

That statement reads:

“We call the attention of the Council to the sharp deterioration in the situation of human rights and Rule of Law in Guatemala.

Last year there were more than a thousand attacks against defenders, including 15 murders and hundreds of cases of criminalization. The most affected have been communities, organizations and people who defend the rights to land, territory and environment. They also represent this part of the population that suffers from a very high degree of poverty that, in some departments, exceeds 80%.

Also judges, prosecutors and magistrates, who seek to combat impunity and corruption have been target of attacks and defamations. The State to this day has not developed effective policies prevention and protection nor is it guaranteeing a prompt investigation and legal prosecution of the perpetrators.

On the contrary, it is intended to reduce the PDH budget by 17% and the budget by almost 50% for the administration of justice. The institutional framework created by the Peace Accords to strengthen Dialogue and peaceful solutions to conflicts has been dissolved last summer, giving rise to a reduced organization without specific funds.

The declaration of 11 States of Prevention, the violent repression of demonstrations, as well as laws and legislative initiatives, (such as the Law against money laundering or other assets, initiative of the Law of NGOs and reform initiatives to the penal code) that threaten to restrict, criminalize or impede NGO work are other signs of the worrying closure of spaces.

The force has also been reflected in the containment and dissolution of the migrant caravan in January of this year These patterns have been further aggravated by the pandemic and the measures taken by the government to confront it, leaving the population and defenders in a situation of extreme vulnerability.

We call on the President as well as all the members of the Human Rights Council of closely monitor the human rights situation and promote the extension of the mandate of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner in Guatemala.”

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