ACT Alliance deeply concerned for the deterioration of democracy, human rights and justice Guatemala

6th June 2018

We, the ecumenical and faith-based organizations members of the ACT Guatemala Forum, concerned about the latest events that highlight the complex situation and adverse environment regarding human rights, the search for justice and the struggle against corruption and impunity in Guatemala, state:

  • Our concern due to the deep deterioration of Human Rights Defenders in Guatemala. Recently, between May 9 and 14, three community leaders were killed in Guatemala: Luis Arturo Marroquin from the Peasant Development Committee (CODECA); José Can Xol and Mateo Chaman Paau both from the Peasant Committee of the Altiplano (CCDA). Two of these murders took place immediately after the visit of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, who denounced the lack of access to justice and the lack of a guarantee to respect of the rights of Indigenous communities, as well as the high rates of criminalization of their leaders, among other problems.
  • Our concern about the continuous trend of shrinking spaces for democracy and the promotion of several laws designed to limit the full exercise of basic and fundamental rights in Guatemala, the proposals for reforms to the Law on Non-Governmental Organizations, the Law on prior Consultation[1], the Anti-Terrorism Law and the Electoral Law in particular.
  • Our concerns with the increased hostility towards foreign missions and partners who are supportive of human rights and democracy in Guatemala, including the expulsion of the ambassadors from Sweden and Venezuela. This trend could have a negative and irreversible impact on the fundamental work of institutions working in defence of justice in Guatemala, such as the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and other state institutions such as the Public Ministry.

The sum of all these actions represents an adverse and regressive environment for democratic institutionalism, governance, justice and human rights in Guatemala which become serious threats to the fight against corruption and impunity. Therefore, we not only express our solidarity with the families and communities who have lost their loved ones, but we also want to call attention to the great risk these events pose to  justice, democracy and respect for human rights in Guatemala.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”  (Matthew 5:10-12)

Genève May 31st, 2018

Read the statement in Spanish here: Comunicado Foro ACT Guatemala

[1]  Related to ILO Indigenous and Tribal Convention No. 169