Right Livelihood Advocacy Officer Fédora Bernard

Democratic institutions in Guatemala are being dismantled, we warn UN Human Rights Council

News 09.03.2023

The international community must pay attention to the human rights situation in Guatemala, where corruption and impunity threaten to fully dismantle the country’s democratic system, Right Livelihood warned during the 52nd session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

You can read the full statement here.

The situation has become especially precarious since President Alejandro Giammattei’s administration took office in 2020, we explained. Since then, authorities have increasingly targeted those who expose abuses of power or defend the rights of marginalised communities, including journalists and independent justice operators.

This troubling rise in authoritarianism is not only a threat to democracy but also to the livelihoods of Guatemalans, who suffer from malnutrition and food insecurity due to the government’s negligence.

In light of this, Right Livelihood emphasised the important role the Council must play to protect Guatemalan’s fundamental rights. If the international community fails to hold the government accountable, the country’s already weakened democratic system risks collapsing entirely. 

We specifically called on the international community to pay attention during the country’s upcoming general election in June, where authorities have already banned two candidates from running on unfounded grounds.

Groundless decisions such as these show that democratic institutions in Guatemala are merely cosmetic. For this reason, we warned, the Council must ensure the Guatemalan authorities uphold the rule of law and respect their people’s fundamental freedoms.

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