Since 2017, the human rights’ situation in Guatemala has come to the attention of the European Parliament (EP). The worsening situation in the country, with the Guatemalan Congress proposing to amend the 1996 National Reconciliation Law, has moved the EP to take further political initiatives.
Firstly, the last EP plenary adopted a Resolution that, among others, condemns the increase in killings and attacks against human rights defenders and reminds the Guatemalan government that the EU-Central America Association Agreement includes a human rights clause as an essential element and that membership may be suspended in the event of its violation.
Secondly, the EP Human Rights Sub-Committee hosted an exchange of views with Iván Velásquez Gómez, Commissioner of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala to further discuss the situation in the country.
The 1996 National Reconciliation Law includes the option of amnesty for common crimes, but it expressly excludes crimes like genocide, forced disappearance and torture. The proposed amendment, currently being debated in Congress, extends amnesty to such crimes.
This is all happening at the same time as Guatemala is preparing its national voluntary reviews to show case to the other members of the UN how the country is (successfully) implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including SDG 16 that recognises the interdependence of justice, peace and development!
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights as well as Human Rights organisations have expressed their deep concerns about these amendment that would perpetuate impunity.
SOLIDAR Members have a longstanding presence in the country where they are active and work with human rights defenders and human rights organisations to fight impunity and support the fight for justice.
SOLIDAR joins the urgent call of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to refrain from amending the National Reconciliation Law.
*In the Framework of SOLIDAR – DEVCO Framework Partnership Agreement “Organising International SOLIDARity: Structuring local to global CSOs engagement on EU development cooperation issues”, SOLIDAR is active in Latin America to promote the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the full realisation of ESR.