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OGP Civil Society Leaders Statement of Significant Concern on Guatemala

Declaración de los líderes de la sociedad civil de OGP de preocupación significativa sobre Guatemala

As the Civil Society leadership of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Steering Committee, we were extremely concerned about Decree 4-2020 in Guatemala and its likely negative impact on the freedom of association, assembly, and speech throughout the country.

We welcome the Guatemalan Constitutional Court decision to suspend the implementation of the Decree and the acceptance of this decision by President Alejandro Giammattei.

In a letter sent to the OGP Steering Committee, Guatemalan civil society organizations stressed how the law would impose much stricter government oversight on their daily activities, including their work to strengthen democratic institutions. New restrictions would include administrative limits on foreign financing, the potential for substantive privacy violations and the use of burdensome requirements, impeding the work of legitimate organizations.

Guatemala has been a member of OGP since 2011 and is a signatory to the Open Government Declaration which clearly states: “We commit to protecting the ability of not-for-profit and civil society organizations to operate in ways consistent with our commitment to freedom of expression, association, and opinion. We commit to creating mechanisms to enable greater collaboration between governments and civil society organizations and businesses.

The proposed law undermines free and open civic space in Guatemala and the principles outlined in the Open Government Declaration. According to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and experts at the International Center for Non-For-Profit Law (ICNL), the law violates international standards.

We stand with Guatemalan civil society. We call on the Guatemalan government to start a dialogue with all stakeholders and Congress to reach a consensus around the values and rights protected by the Inter-American Human Rights System.

 

SIGNATURES

María Barón, Directorio Legislativo
Asma Cherifi, TACID Network
Glynnis Cummings-John, Restless Development
Helen Darbishire, Access Info Europe
Aidan Eyakuze, Twaweza
Delia Ferreira Rubio, Transparency International
Robin Hodess, The B Team
Giorgi Kldiashvili, Institute for Development of Freedom of Information
Tur-Od Lkhagvaja, Asia Democracy Network
Lucy McTernan, University of York
Elisa Peter, Publish What You Pay
Zuzana Wienk, White Crow

Filed Under: Civic Space

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