Civic Space in Guatemala – Urgent | Civil Society Release

By February 14, 2020 CSO Standard

Under the excuse of “inciting public disorder”, the Guatemalan Congress restricts by law the actions of NGOs

February 12, 2020.

Yesterday afternoon, the Guatemalan Congress untimely passed a law that gives the Executive branch discretion to decide when to take away operating permits from civil society organizations under the guise of “inciting social disorder.” In addition, the new regulation sets up new bureaucratic requirements for the authorization of the legal status of entities, guarantees the detention of their leaders for violating the prohibitions set forth in the law and disables them from rejoining an organization for a minimum period of 2 years.

The controversial law was also passed unexpectedly and through non-transparent processes. In the middle of the session, the ruling party, Vamos, promoted a last minute change in the agenda of the venue and put in discussion the reform of the Non-Governmental Organizations for Development Law. Although the change in the agenda was denounced by the opposition parties due to the lack of previous debate on the initiative, the ruling party achieved the backing of other forces with the endorsement of 81 deputies.  

Today, both the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) expressed their concern about the regulation and urged Guatemala to generate policies that are not incompatible with the rights to freedom of expression or association, such as this one, and to adjust to the international reports, standards, and recommendations made to the country.

As civil society organizations we clearly identify that this law threatens civic space, that is to say, that our capacity and right to act, to associate, to demonstrate and to express ourselves is seriously restricted. In Guatemala, some organizations have filed a petition for legal protection against this law in order to protect the basic rights of organization. However, we need to raise our voices and therefore we call on the entire international community. From civil society we express our deepest concern, we express our total rejection and we urge President Alejandro Giammattei to veto the law to avoid its entry into force.

We ask, then, civil society organizations, networks, international organizations and agencies and the entire community that watches over the strengthening of democracies and the defense of civic space to adhere to this document with their signatures, share it and join in social networks with #Noala5257, calling on President @DrGiammattei to veto the regulation.


  1. Fundación Directorio Legislativo, Argentina
  2. Fundación Ciudadanía y Desarrollo, Ecuador 
  3. SocialTIC, México 
  4. Agency, México
  5. Multitudes, Chile

6-bousnina redouane maroc

7- CEAMSO, Asuncion, Paraguay

  1. Datasketch, Colombia
  2. Ciudadanía Inteligente, Latinoamerica
  3. Impacto Legislativo, México
  4. Observatorio Dominicano de Políticas Públicas de la Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (ODPP-UASD)
  5. Espacio Nacional por la Transparencia de la Industria Extractiva (ENTRE), República Dominicana
  6. GESOC, Agencia para el Desarrollo, México
  7. Semillas para la democracia, Paraguay  
  8. Association for Promotion Sustainable Development, India  
  9. DATA Uruguay
  10. Congreso Visible Colombia
  11. Acción Ciudadana, Capítulo Guatemalteco de Transparencia Internacional
  12. Salta Transparente, (Salta, Argentina)
  13. Pablo Marsal – Coordinador del Observatorio de ONG – Facultad de Ciencias Sociales – Universidad de Buenos Aires
  14. Fundación Nuestra Mendoza (Mendoza, Argentina)
  15. Poder Ciudadano (Argentina)
  16. Transparencia por Colombia
  17. Democracia en Red (Argentina)
  18. Asociación Costa Rica Integra
  19. Asociación para una Sociedad más Justa (Honduras) 
  20. CIMTRA-Península de Yucatán
  21. Proética (Capítulo Peruano de Transparencia Internacional)
  22. Fundar, Centro de Análisis e Investigación, México
  23. Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos, México
  24. Sociedad Civil Abriendo Datos Costa Rica
  25. Transparencia Mexicana, Capítulo en México de Transparencia Internacional 
  26. Cultura Ecológica
  27. AMAP Análisis en Materia Pública S.C. 

35 Fundación para Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer  Argentina 

  1. Jade Propuestas Sociales y Alternativas al Desarrollo, A.C. (México)
  2. Article 19 Oficina para México y Centroamérica
  3. Forum Intégré pour l’Éducation et la Stabilité Économique (FINESTE), Haití
  4. Ensamble Joven Feminista. (Argentina)
  5. Red Ciudadana, Guatemala
  6. Datos Concepción (Argentina)
  7. Escuela de Fiscales (Argentina)

43.FOCIS (Foro de Observación  de la Calidad Institucional de Salta) Argentina 

44 Com. Legal y Técnica para las OSC, Cjo. Consultivo Soc Civ. Cancillería Arg.-

  1. Acción Colectiva, Argentina
  2. Fundación Conocimiento Abierto. Argentina
  3. Twaweza East Africa
  4. Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia (ACIJ)
  5. Cambio Democrático, Argentina
  6. Asociación Gobierno Abierto – AGA Argentina. Córdoba, Argentina

51- PARES (Argentina)

52.ACCESA, Costa Rica.

  1. Fundación Nueva Generación Argentina, Argentina
  2. Innovación Cívica A.C. 
  3. Red Social Contraloría Ciudadana Puebla AC, México 

February 13, 2020.

  1. Wingu (Res non Verba Asociación Civil, Argentina)
  2. Ligalab, Ideas que Unen A.C. (Chiapas, México)
  3. Fundeps (Argentina)
  4. Africa Centre for Open Governance, Kenya

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