Guatemala


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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



September 5, 2018 • Press Release

Guatemala: Discriminatory law puts at risk the lives and rights of thousands of women, girls and LGBTI people

Guatemala’s Congress must reject proposed law 5272, also known as the “Law for the Protection of Life and Family,” because it would violate the rights of thousands of women, girls and LGBTI, Amnesty International said today. “This bill actually threatens what it claims to protect: life and families,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Amnesty International Director for …

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 • Press Release

Attacks on the rise in Honduras and Guatemala, the world’s deadliest countries for environmental activists

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.

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 22, 2016 • Press Release

Amnesty International’s Annual State of the World Report Slams Governments, Including the U.S., for Global Assault on Freedoms

On the launch of its 2015 State of the World report, Amnesty International USA urged President Obama to use his last year in office to bring U.S. laws and policies in line with international human rights standards.

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 18, 2016 • Press Release

Your rights in jeopardy, global assault on freedoms, warns Amnesty International

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.

January 11, 2016 • Press Release

Shameful decision to postpone Ríos Montt trial a new stain on Guatemala’s justice system

The new postponement of José Efraín Ríos Montt’s trial on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity is a slap in the face of the victims still trying to heal the wounds of decades of brutal civil war, said Amnesty International today.

January 7, 2016 • Press Release

Ríos Montt’s trial is the ultimate test for Guatemala’s justice system

The trial of Guatemala’s former military ruler, José Efraín Ríos Montt, due to start on January 11, will be a major test for the country’s justice system and a huge opportunity for Guatemala to show it is committed to human rights, said Amnesty International today.

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.