Guatemala: Human Rights

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 26th March 2019.

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Photo of Helen Goodman Helen Goodman Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the proposed reforms of the (a) National Reconciliation Law and (b) NGO Law in Guatemala; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan Minister of State

We welcome the fact that the proposed amendments to the National Reconciliation Law (NRL), seeking to grant amnesty for serious crimes against humanity, lacked sufficient backing in the Guatemalan Congress on 13 March. Two further bills that would allow pre-trial and convicted detainees to be at liberty also did not gain sufficient backing. We remain concerned that proposals of this nature signify a worrying trend towards seeking impunity from serious crimes as well as corruption. Through a local statement issued on 13 March by the G13 group of international donors to Guatemala, the UK joined others in condemning the proposed amendments. The statement highlighted that the amendments to the NRL would violate Guatemala’s international obligations, damage reconciliation efforts and erode faith in the rule of law, and also expressed concern over proposed amendments to the NGO law.

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