Thank you President.
Action Canada makes this statement on behalf of the PACT, Red Juvenil de Asociación de Mujeres Gente Nueva and the Sexual Rights Initiative.
We regret that Guatemala has noted all the recommendations pertaining to the closing of civil society space, creating an enabling environment for civil society organisations to operate, protecting the rights of human rights defenders, and pertaining to meeting its obligations to respect, protect, and fulfil sexual and reproductive rights, the rights of women and the rights of LGBT+ persons. Additionally, young people are excluded from political participation and key decision-making due to a lack of enabling legislation such as a national youth law, as well as a lack of representation in key spaces and in decision-making.
Guatemala must begin to prioritise the sexual and reproductive rights of adolescents, and youth. Religious, cultural, and patriarchal norms, and adult-centrism in Guatemalan society and legislation restrict the enjoyment of sexual and reproductive rights by young people, including through an inability to access inclusive comprehensive sexuality education, and sexual and reproductive health services including HIV testing and counselling. Guatemala must take a multisectoral and human rights-based approach to its health and education policy-making, including by incorporating sexual and reproductive health information, comprehensive sexuality education and a gender transformative approach in education, employment, and health.
We call on Guatemala to respect the freedoms of association and expression, and to repeal Decree 4-202 which imposes undue restrictions, sanctions and controls on activists and civil society organisations for inter alia, receiving donor funding to enable human rights work and programming in the country. Civil society organisations cannot continue to work under the threat of being penalised with criminal and civil charges, and of having their organisations dissolved.