Image extracted from event flyer © Peace Brigades International 2024

Human rights situation in Guatemala

Explore the socio-political challenges in Guatemala, including judicial system co-optation and forced evictions in Indigenous communities, in a bilingual (English/Spanish) side event that seeks to raise awareness and foster support for human rights defenders.

Location: Geneva, Switzerland

In recent years, Guatemala has witnessed a concerning erosion of its State institutions, posing a threat to the rule of law. The co-optation of the judicial system has generated an alarming persecution of human rights defenders and justice operators, many of whom have had to flee the country. Despite the election of President Bernardo Arevalo, who led a campaign promising to reestablish the rule of law and fight corruption, it is important that the international community continues to monitor the human rights situation in Guatemala.

This event aims to shed light on the recent socio-political developments in Guatemala, with a particular focus on the 2023 presidential elections and the dynamics of peaceful protest. It will explore the fragile state of the rule of law in the country and the significant human rights challenges it faces. A critical discussion will center on the co-optation of the judicial system by criminal groups, which has led to the persistent criminalisation of justice operators and human rights defenders. Additionally, the event will address the pressing crisis of forced evictions in Indigenous communities, highlighting the severe impact on the right to adequate housing and other fundamental human rights. These evictions, often driven by the interests of non-State actors like extractive companies and large-scale development projects, represent a form of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, amounting to torture. Participants will have the opportunity to learn from experts and human rights defenders about the context and consequences of these evictions, fostering a deeper understanding of the situation and encouraging dialogue on how to support and protect the affected communities.


  • Clément Nyaletsossi Voule, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of peaceful assembly and of association
  • Lourdes Gómez Willis, Q’eqchi’-afrodescendant professor working on issues of Indigenous women defenders and the impacts of oil palm production
  • Bernardo Caal Xol, Mayan Q’eqchi community leader, teacher, environmental, and land rights activist
  • Luis Haroldo Pacheco Gutiérrez, Ex-President of the Council of Communal Mayors of the 48 cantons of Totonicapán

Moderated by Peace Brigades International

With the participation of Margaret Satterthwaite, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers

This side event will be available in English and Spanish, with interpretation provided for both languages.

This event is co-sponsored by Centre for Civil and Political Rights, Franciscans International, Impunity Watch, International Service for Human Rights, Peace Brigades International, and Protection international Mesoamérica.