On February 13, some 59 national and international organizations issued a statement rejecting the approval of Decree No. 04-2020, which introduces reforms to the Non-Governmental Organizations for Development Law (Decree 2-2003), popularly known as the NGO Law, and to the Civil Code (Decree 106).
The reforms, which were surreptitiously passed on February 11, in the Plenary Session of the nation’s Congress, were condemned by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) for countering international obligations of Guatemala. Human rights bodies denounced the fact that the “proposal would seek to implement limitations and controls in the registry and practice of the NGOs in a way that is incompatible with the rights to freedom of expression and association.”
Upon entering into effect, the law would impose a regimen that exceeds the authority of the State to regulate the performance of certain duties and that violates the rights to freedom of expression and association, restricts civic space, limits the right to defend human rights and produces a hostile environment for citizen participation in matters of public concern.
And lastly, the undersigned organizations support the valuable work of the Guatemalan NGOs in the construction of democracy and the defense of human rights of all people, and reaffirm our solidarity with them in the face of the retrogressive measures against them.