Situation of human rights in Guatemala: Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights in Guatemala (A/HRC/43/3/Add.1)

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In her report, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights describes the situation of human rights and the activities of the Office of the High Commissioner in Guatemala from 1 January to 31 December 2019. She highlights advances made and persisting challenges in the promotion and protection of human rights, with a focus on issues related to democratic space, justice and the fight against impunity, and equality and non-discrimination. The report concludes with recommendations to various State institutions and other stakeholders.

I. Introduction

  1. The present report was prepared pursuant to the agreement between the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Government of Guatemala, signed in January 2005 and renewed in September 2017 for an additional three years. The report covers the year 2019 and is based on information collected and analysed by OHCHR in Guatemala, as well as information provided by State institutions and other stakeholders. Specific activities of OHCHR are detailed throughout the report.

  2. In 2019, OHCHR conducted 83 monitoring and fact-finding missions, provided 193 capacity-building courses to State institutions and civil society, and followed up on 104 emergency cases of alleged human rights violations. It regularly issued public statements and produced two reports and several informational fact sheets, which are available on its website ( It organized seven forums, including on business and human rights, freedom of expression, the rights to water and sanitation, and transitional justice. It provided strategic litigation and technical support for the implementation of judgments or reparations ordered, especially in cases regarding the rights of indigenous peoples.

  3. The Office provided continuous technical assistance to State institutions at the national and local levels, notably to the Office of the Ombudsperson; the Office of the Attorney General; the judiciary; the Ministry of Labour; the Ministry of Health; the Ministry of Education; the National Civil Police; the Presidential Commission on Human Rights; the Presidential Secretariat for Women; and the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, among others. Throughout its work, it collaborated with regional and international human rights-monitoring mechanisms.

  4. The work of OHCHR in 2019 covered issues raised in the present report, notably human rights defenders; independence of the judiciary; transitional justice; the fight against impunity; security; inclusive and sustainable human development; and non-discrimination and equality. OHCHR prioritized the situation of the most marginalized sectors of the population: indigenous peoples; women and girls; people on the move; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons; and persons with disabilities.