Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF

Wednesday, 24 October 2012 (afternoon)

(Disclaimer: The following brief is intended for use of the information media and is not an official record.  The note provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review and does not cover all points addressed.  An official summary of the meeting can be found in the Working Group report.)

State under review

Represented by eight-member delegation headed by Mr Antonio Arenales Forno, Secretary of Peace of Guatemala.


To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit the Guatemala page on UPR website.

Troika *

Czech Republic, Jordan, Senegal.

Opening statement by State under review

Few points raised in the  opening statement of State under review:
 (See full statement on the Guatemala page on UPR extranet)

  • Fiscal reforms, a zero hunger policy, and enhanced security and justice measures served as the bases for the on-going constitutional and legal reforms aimed at upholding human rights throughout the country;
  • Moreover, judicial and legal reform, democratic transition and the signing of the peace agreement was indicative of the Government’s intention to build a framework to uphold human rights;
  • Budget allocations have been increased for the judiciary and norms for transparency and accountability have been initiated;
  • The head of delegation noted that no deaths have occurred following the peace agreement of 1996 ending the armed conflict which was a testament to the willingness of the Government and guerrilla forces to sustain peace;
  • The Government ratified the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities in December 2008 and the Rome Statute of the ICC in April 2012;
  • The State had also promulgated a law dealing with the prevention of torture consistent with the Convention against Torture;
  • In 2008 a body was set up aimed at upholding the rights of human rights defenders and to investigate any related attacks and in 2012, seven additional sentences were process for acts committed against human rights defenders;
  • Among the measures taken to address instances of homicides, the Government set up the Citizens Security Commission and has strengthened the public security scheme bolstering the police force, among other measures;
  • An office on human trafficking was created in 2012 to address this scourge and a law was recently enacted on human trafficking and sexual violence;
  • Much progress has been achieved in the area of social policies and in developing capacities for people living in poverty and other vulnerable groups, and a cabinet for social development was established in 2012; among other things, steps have been taken to strengthen rural economies and to address malnourishment;
  • Abuse of minors was now categorized as a crime per the criminal code and laws have been promulgated and amended to ensure the elimination of the worst forms of child labour; 
  • Numerous measures have also been constituted to prevent violence against women. 


In total 55 States participated in the dialogue: 23 HRC members and 32 observers  (Statements available on the Guatemala page on UPR extranet).

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • Progress made since the first UPR of Guatemala, particularly in the area of economic, social and cultural rights;
  • The ratification of the Rome Statute of the ICC, the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and the OPCAT;
  • The 2008 Act on Femicide and Other Forms of Violence against Women;
  • The creation of the Ministry of Social Development;
  • Advances made in combatting poverty and the zero hunger plan;
Efforts to enhance the rights of indigenous people.

Issues and Questions

Issues and questions raised by the Working Group included, among others:

  • Steps to address acts of violence against women and femicide;
  • Measures to eliminate child labour;
  • Investigations into extrajudicial killings;
  • Steps taken to combat impunity;
  • The protection of human rights defenders;
Measures to uphold the rights of indigenous communities.


States participating in the dialogue posed a series of recommendations to Guatemala. These pertained to the following issues, among others

  • Pursuing the zero hunger plan and fulfilling the commitment to reduce chronic malnutrition by 10% in four years;
  • Ensuring efforts to address all instances of violence and discrimination against women and access to justice for women victims of violence and properly investigate and prosecute cases of femicide;
  • Provision of adequate resources devoted to combatting femicide and all forms of violence against women and gender sensitive training for persons involved in such acts and compliance between domestic legislation and the CEDAW;
  • Efforts to stamp out human trafficking and acts of sexual violence and enacting legislation to explicitly prohibit corporal punishment;
  • Effective measures to eliminate child labour;
  • Imposing a moratorium on the death penalty;
  • Effective and independent investigations into all reports of extrajudicial executions and ensuring that killings, threats and attacks against human rights defenders were promptly investigated;
  • Ensuring all crimes against humanity, as well as torture and disappearances, were investigated and prosecuted and pursuing accountability efforts, in particular in relation to the 1982 Dos Erres massacre;
  • Provision of resources to support the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and the implementation of CICIG recommendations;
  • Ensuring a safe working environment for journalists and proactive measures against impunity and educating national security forces to effectively uphold law and order particularly when policing demonstrations and large crowds;
  • The protection of indigenous communities, especially in view of land disputes and forced evictions and the adaption of national legislation to fully implement ILO Convention 169 on indigenous and tribal peoples;
  • Ratification of human rights instruments:  Convention on enforced and involuntary disappearances and the OP of the ICCPR.

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on Guatemala is scheduled to take place on Monday, 29 October 2012.

The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR. 

Media contact: Rolando Gómez, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9711,