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Norwegian statement on Guatemala

Last updated: 24.10.2012 //

Wednesday, 24. October 2012, Geneva.

Norway warmly welcomes the delegation from Guatemala and the presentation of the national report. We appreciate the opportunity to engage in further dialogue with Guatemala on human rights.

 Norway recommends the adaption of national legislation to fully implement the ILO Convention No. 169 on indigenous and tribal peoples. Particular focus should be put on the indigenous peoples’ right to be consulted at all levels of decision-making, in policy, legislative, administrative and development processes affecting them. Likewise, Norway recommends reforming the Mining Law to guarantee indigenous peoples’ right to their land, territories and natural resources. Norway also recommends that Guatemala gives priority to legislative recognition of the competence of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) to receive and consider complaints from persons claiming to be victims of violation by the State, in accordance with article 14 of the Convention.

We are deeply concerned with the malnutrition affecting half of all Guatemalan children under the age of five. Norway acknowledges the initiative “Pacto Hambre Cero”, and recommends Guatemala to implement targeted, sustainable and effective measures to reduce the alarmingly high rate of children suffering from chronic malnutrition, especially among the indigenous population, where eight of ten children are affected, according to UNICEF[1].

Finally, we see the need to reiterate two recommendations by Norway in the UPR in 2008, which Guatemala accepted:

Firstly, we congratulate the Guatemalan Constitutional Court decision that urges the legislative power to reform the legislation concerning access of indigenous people to radio frequencies to promote, develop and diffuse their languages, traditions and other cultural expressions.

Norway recommends that Guatemala follows up this decision and reform the law on radio communication in order to guarantee the proper and free functioning of local radios. Due to the exclusion of the indigenous population in Guatemala, it is a particular need to guarantee access to media in rural areas and in the different indigenous languages.

Secondly; Due to the continuously serious security situation for human rights defenders, we reiterate our 2008’ recommendation to Guatemala to “take steps to ensure a reduction in the attacks on anyone working to promote and protect human rights and to bring the perpetrators of such attacks to justice.”

Thank you.


[1] UNICEF Country Report Guatemala 2010 (link)


 

Advance Questions:

 

1.         In its previous UPR, Guatemala accepted the following recommendation from Norway: “Take steps to ensure a reduction in the attacks on human rights defenders and to bring the perpetrators of such attacks to justice.” What concrete steps have been taken by the Government in this regard and what have been the concrete results of these steps?

2.         Guatemala also accepted a recommendation from Norway to reform the law on radio communication in order to guarantee the proper and free functioning of local radios. Could you please elaborate on what measures the Government has taken to fulfill this recommendation? What are  the main obstacles to allowing community radios to obtain radio frequencies?

3.         Norway is concerned about the current situation of discrimination and violence in Guatemala against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals (LGBT) due to their sexual orientation. Which steps are being taken to protect and promote the universal human rights of all persons in Guatemala regardless of their sexual orientation and identity? 


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