02/27/2019

Urgent Action: NGOs and Human Rights Defenders at Risk (Guatemala: UA 28.19)


Proposed legislative reform in Guatemala would impose undue restrictions, controls and sanctions on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), threatening the rights to freedom of expression and association in the country. The reforms are due to be voted upon and adopted within the coming weeks. Call on Guatemala’s Congress to refrain from debating and passing Bill 5257 to ensure that human rights defenders can continue their activities.

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TAKE ACTION:

  1. Write a letter in your own words or using the sample below as a guide to one or both government officials listed. You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.
  2. Click here to let us know the actions you took on Urgent Action 28.19 It’s important to report because we share the total number with the officials we are trying to persuade and the people we are trying to help.
Álvaro Enrique Arzú Escobar
President of Congress
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @AlvaroArzuE @CongresoGT
Ambassador Manuel Espina
Embassy of Guatemala
2220 R St. NW, Washington DC 20008
Phone: 202 745 4953 I Fax: 202 745 1908
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @EmbaGuateUSA
Contact Form: https://bit.ly/2CqkgUO
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

Dear Mr Arzú,

I am writing to you to express my concern over Bill 5257 which aims to amend Guatemala’s “Law on Non-Governmental Organizations for Development”.

Bill 5257 poses a serious threat to the rights to freedom of expression and association in Guatemala. If passed, the reform would impose excessive controls and burdensome requirements for the registration and operation of NGOs in the country. It would also grant broad powers to the government to permanently suspend the activities of an NGO for reasons such as “disturbance of public order”. The interpretation of this ambiguous expression could lead to the arbitrary closure of civil society organizations and the imposition of criminal sanctions against the human rights defenders that work in them, as an attempt to silence and harass them.

Strong leaders know that placing excessive bureaucratic obstacles on NGOs hurts the society they’re meant to protect. I therefore urge you to refrain from debating and passing Bill 5257 into law as a way to lead in the respect of the rights to freedom of expression and association in Guatemala and ensure that human rights defenders can continue to their job.

Yours sincerely,

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Human rights are under threat:

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