Guatemala: ending impunity, rights of indigenous peoples, and migrants (UN statement)

The ICJ today joined other NGOs in addressing the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva, on the situation for human rights in Guatemala.

The statement, delivered by Franciscans International on behalf also of ICJ and other NGOs, read as follows (translation of Spanish original):

“We welcome the High Commissioner’s Report concerning the activities of her Office in Guatemala. We share the concerns and recommendations in the report, especially those related to the indigenous peoples, migrants and legislative initiatives that would impact in the full enjoyment of human rights.

As it was highlighted in the report, we are also concerned by the current discussions on the initiative to reform the National Reconciliation Law. This reform would give amnesty to those who committed serious crimes during the armed conflict, including those who have already been convicted. This puts at risk not only the fulfillment of the state’s obligations to end impunity, but also the security and access to justice of hundreds of victims and witnesses. Guatemala should dismiss immediately the initiative and refrain from promoting any other initiative that would promote impunity.

Additionally, the political and social tensions are intensifying towards the upcoming elections, and the inclusion of various groups, especially indigenous peoples, is at risk. Currently there is a low participation and representation of indigenous peoples in the political scene of the country. Out of 178 seats in the Congress, only 18 are occupied by Mayans (from which only two are women). The State must guarantee free participation, without intimidation or threats, of indigenous peoples running for different positions.

Lastly, the regional human rights situation of migrants is aggravating and the response by Guatemala, as evidenced in the last months, shows the lack of an effective policy to deal not only with migrants in transit, but also to create conditions to prevent forced migration of Guatemalans.

We thank the work that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has done, and we stress the importance of its activities in the country.”

The full statement may be downloaded in English and the original Spanish, in PDF format, here: HRC40-OralStatement-GDitem2-Guatemala-2019-EN-ESP

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