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
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