Guatemala Passes Law to Restrict NGOs

Country: Guatemala
March 18, 2020
News

Civil society advocacy groups such as the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) have raised alarm at a new law passed in Guatemala which imposes sweeping controls on NGOs and impinges their right to freedom of expression and association. The harsh regulations included in the law (Decree 4-2020) signed by President Alejandro Giammattei on February 27 puts NGOs at risk of dissolution for even small administrative errors. It would also allow the government to immediately suspend an NGO that uses external funding for any activities that “disturb the public order,” a vague term that would leave NGOs vulnerable to being disbanded and their members prohibited from joining any other NGO for two years. The meaning of this phrase isn’t defined, so could be interpreted broadly to target civil society organizations as they hold public events.

Acción Ciudadana, the Guatemalan chapter of Transparency International, issued the following statement about the law: “It’s clear that these reforms are aimed at limiting the work of nongovernmental agencies and that they respond to the dark agenda of Guatemala’s corrupt elite, who see civil society as a limitation to their illegitimate acts and looting of public funds.” To learn more click here.

To sign or write your own letter to Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei expressing your concerns about Decree 4-2020, please click here.