Blog Entry

International Organizations Express Concern for Democracy in Guatemala Amidst Attacks

Val Croft

Communications Lead

MiningWatch Canada joins a host of international solidarity and human rights organizations in expressing deep concern over recent attacks against democracy in Guatemala. While the current Attorney General seeks to delegitimize election results and prevent the peaceful transfer of power, thousands of Guatemalans are participating in a national strike and taking to the streets in a powerful defense of democracy. Read more below and stay tuned for further updates.

To: Public Prosecutor’s Office; Ministry of the Interior; Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Office of the Human Rights Ombudsperson

CC: Embassy of Canada to Guatemala; U.S. Embassy in Guatemala; Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights; Organization of American States; European Union Electoral Observation Mission to Guatemala

October 9, 2023

To whom it may concern:

We, the undersigned international human rights organizations, express our deep concern at the deterioration of democracy currently taking place in Guatemala. Communities in Guatemala have lived in a context of ongoing human rights violations, now worsened by legal attacks against the results of the elections and the criminalization of any kind of opposition. These repressive actions by government institutions run counter to the fundamental principles of democracy and are a violation of the basic rights of Guatemalan citizens.

Criminalization and attempts to delegitimize election results – efforts being led by the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the judiciary – represent an attack on the voice of Guatemalans who expressed themselves clearly at the ballot box. Attempts to prevent the peaceful transfer of power to the incumbent president are occurring within a context of systematic repression, violence, and the criminalization of judges, journalists, politicians, and human rights defenders, in addition to proposed legislation that promotes impunity and privileges certain business sectors.

Faced with the current government’s authoritarian actions and the undermining of democratic institutions, Indigenous authorities, social movements, urban collectives, women’s associations, and campesino organizations have taken to the streets to peacefully and firmly express themselves as they defend their vote through demonstrations taking place across the country. These demonstrations, including road blockades, form part of the human right to protest as acknowledged by the United Nations’ Human Rights Committee in its General Comment number 37.

We echo the calls of community organizations in Guatemala, as well as international institutions such as the Organization of American States and the European Union Election Observation Mission to Guatemala, to respect and uphold democracy and human rights.

In light of the above, we, the undersigned human rights organizations, request:

  • That State institutions respect the system of democracy and the results of the election; 
  • That State institutions meet the demands of the Indigenous authorities and the populations in peaceful resistance;
  • That State institutions protect and guarantee the constitutional right to peaceful protest;
  • That international institutions monitor the respect of democratic norms and impose sanctions on the actors who threaten them. 


The undersigned

Canadian organizations

  • BC CASA-Café Justicia
  • Rights Action
  • Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network (BTS)
  • MiningWatch Canada
  • Canada Platform for Exiled Guatemalans
  • Proyecto de Acompañamiento – PAQG
  • All for Guatemala

U.S. organizations

  • Comunidad Maya Pixan Ixim
  • Denver Justice and Peace Committee (DJPC)
  • Due Process of Law Foundation
  • Guatemalan Human Rights Commission (GHRC)
  • Guatemala Scholar Activist Network (GuaSa)
  • GuateMaya L.A. Mujeres en Resistencia
  • Institute for Policy Studies – Global Economy Program
  • Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala/NISGUA
  • Saint Louis Interfaith Committee on Latin America
  • Santa Elena Project of Accompaniment (SEPA)

European organizations

  • Glimt fra Guatemala
  • Mellemamerika Komiteen – The Danish Central American Committee

Photo credit: CPR.Urbana