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Guatemala is a state party to the 2018 Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean,[1] which it signed on September 27, 2019.[2

While the country was reported as being “the deadliest nation for land defenders per head of population with 16 confirmed killings” during 2018,[3]  no specific legislation for the protection of environmental defenders was located. However, the following legislation, while not mentioning the protection of environmental defenders, is indirectly related to the subject:

  • Decree No. 70-96, Law for the Protection of Procedural Subjects and Persons Linked to the Administration of Criminal Justice.[4]
  • Government Accord No. 09-2012, Creating the Request for an Analysis (Instancia) of Attacks against Human Rights Defenders in Guatemala.[5] Article 1 of the Accord provides that the main function of the Analysis is to analyze “the patterns of attack against human rights defenders through a scientific methodology.” Article 1 Quáter defines a “human rights defender” as

[a] person who individually or collectively promotes and seeks to protect and implement human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels, and these may be journalists, union leaders, justice operators, defenders of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or transgender or intersex (LGBTI) community, indigenous peoples, women and activists that among others are dedicated to the promotion and defense of human rights.

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Prepared by Dante Figueroa
Senior Legal Information Analyst
November 2019


[1] Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean art. 4.1., Escazú, Mar. 4, 2018, C.N.195.2018.TREATIES-XXVII.18, https://perma.cc/F5AU-DZ94.

[2] Regional Agreement, Status as at: 08-11-2019 05:00:38 EDT, UNTC, https://perma.cc/QV8G-KHRX.

[3] Despite More than 160 Environmental, Land Rights Activists Murdered in 2018, Report Says, France24.com (July 30, 2019), https://perma.cc/5CNF-NQGJ.

[4] Decreto No. 70-96, Ley para la Protección de Sujetos Procesales y Personas Vinculadas a la Administración de Justicia Penal, La Gaceta, Sept. 27, 1996, https://perma.cc/7VQG-B9QN.

[5] Acuerdo Gubernativo No. 09-2012, Crea la Instancia de Análisis de Ataques contra Defensores de Derechos Humanos en Guatemala, La Gaceta, Jan. 10, 2012, https://perma.cc/W2GG-CPUA, repealing Acuerdo Gubernativo No. 103-2008, La Gaceta, Jan. 10, 2008, https://perma.cc/6ES8-RFEK.

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Last Updated: 12/30/2020