Guatemala Human Rights

Human Rights Concerns

Guatemala's 36-year armed conflict ended nearly ten years ago. The goal of the December 1996 Peace Accords was a state based on the rule of law, but today Guatemala continues to be crushed by the rule of impunity, as well as extreme social inequality, and one of the highest levels of violent crime anywhere in Latin America.

  • Unbridled impunity threatening the rule of law, including failure to prosecute former president Efraín Rios Montt and other high officials for hundreds of massacres and other human rights crimes committed during the 1960-1996 civil conflict
  • Over 2500 brutal killings since 2001, and the failure to investigate and prosecute these and other violent crimes against women
  • Assaults, death threats, and killings of human rights activists
  • Assaults, death threats, and killings of witnesses, members of the judiciary, forensic anthropologists, and others involved in investigations of human rights crimes
  • Assaults, death threats, and killings of journalists, trade unionists, and anti-CAFTA demonstrators
  • Assaults, death threats, and killings of elected officials and others investigating government corruption
  • Violent forced evictions, labor rights violations, and other human rights violations in the context of agrarian disputes, targeting thousands of rural families
  • Social cleansing; killings by state and private security forces, targeting street children, LGBT people, sex workers, alleged youth gang members, and others
  • Tacit state support of clandestine, illegally armed organizations linked to state agents and organized crime, and failure to support the UN-backed Commission for the Investigation of Illegal Bodies and Clandestine Security Apparatus
  • Harassment of human rights defenders and justice workers through politically motivated criminal charges, office ransackings, and electronic surveillance
  • New trade policies (D.R.-CAFTA) lacking any meaningful labor rights protections for Guatemalan workers
  • Retention of the death penalty, with 29 people on death row
Guatemala Newsroom

February 27, 2020 • Report

Countries cracked down on asylum and the right to protest in the Americas in 2019

As millions took to the streets to protest rampant violence, inequality, corruption and impunity, or were forced to flee their countries in search of safety, states across the Americas clamped …

December 9, 2018 • Report

Oppressive, sexist policies galvanize bold fight for women’s rights in 2018

Women activists around the world have been at the forefront of the battle for human rights in 2018, Amnesty International said today as it launched its review on the state …

November 27, 2017 • Report

No Safe Place: LGBTI Salvadorans, Guatemalans and Hondurans Seeking Asylum in Mexico

The lives and safety of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI) from violence-ridden El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are at an increased risk as authorities in their countries fail to protect them, leaving them with no choice but to flee their countries and face further dangers in Mexico, Amnesty International said in a new report today.

August 29, 2016 • Report

We are defending the land with our blood: Defenders of the land, territory and environment in Honduras and Guatemala

An insidious wave of threats, bogus charges, smear campaigns, attacks and killings of environmental and land activists in recent months has made Honduras and Guatemala the most dangerous countries on earth for those protecting natural resources, Amnesty International said in a new report six months after the brutal murder of Indigenous leader Berta Cáceres.

February 18, 2016 • Report

Amnesty International State of the World 2015-2016

International protection of human rights is in danger of unravelling as short-term national self-interest and draconian security crackdowns have led to a wholesale assault on basic freedoms and rights, warned Amnesty International as it launched its annual assessment of human rights around the world. “Your rights are in jeopardy: they are being treated with utter contempt by many governments around the world,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

February 25, 2015 • Report

State of the World 2014/2015

This has been a devastating year for those seeking to stand up for human rights and for those caught up in the suffering of war zones. Governments pay lip service to the importance of protecting civilians. And yet the world's politicians have miserably failed to protect those in greatest need. Amnesty International believes that this can and must finally change.

May 20, 2013 • Report

Annual Report: Guatemala 2013

Republic of Guatemala Head of state and government Otto Pérez Molina Large-scale mining and hydroelectric projects continued to be imposed on rural communities without prior consultation and regardless of the …

June 16, 2011 • Report

Annual Report: Guatemala 2011

Head of state and government: Álvaro Colom Caballeros Death penalty: retentionist Population: 14.4 million Life expectancy: 70.8 years Under-5 mortality (m/f): 45/34 per 1,000 Adult literacy: 73.8 per cent Violence …

March 26, 2011 • Report

Persecution and resistance: The experience of human rights defenders in Guatemala and Honduras

This report focuses on risks that human rights defenders face in Honduras and Guatemala, where the pattern of human rights abuses against human rights activists is widespread and in need of serious attention.

March 26, 2011 • Report

Guatemala: No protection, no justice: killings of women (an update)

Since 2001 over 2,200 women and girls have been murdered in Guatemala and the rate of murders is on the increase. Between 1 January 2006 and 5 May according to police statistics 229 women and girls were killed.