The Agreement on Socio-economic Aspects and the Agrarian Situation (1996) points out that a sustainable and lasting peace must be based on a socio-economic development oriented to the common good that responds to the needs of the entire population, in order to overcome poverty, extreme poverty, discrimination and social marginalization. The Peace Accords develop a set of guidelines to address the agrarian situation and rural development as well as a goal of transforming the structure of land tenure and use.

In 2017, more than 20 years after the signing of the peace deal, the structural problem; the unjust distribution of land, which generates high rates of poverty, malnutrition and exclusion, is even more pronounced than at the end of the war. The UNDP stated in 2017 that inequities, weak state institutions and land concentration continue to make it impossible to improve livelihoods.

Forced evictions have continued to be a central concern of rural organizations and communities in various regions of the country, even though families and communities are in the process of negotiating and dialogue with the government's agrarian institutions (Land Fund and Secretariat of Agrarian Affairs) to regulate their right to access the land.

In this thematic area we accompany the Veracruz Union of Peasant Organizations (UVOC), which advises communities that demand their right to land in a region where large estate landownership prevails.

Annual Reports

Our Annual Reports compile the main events that have shaped PBI Guatemala's work in the last years. We hope they contibute to make visible the important work of women and men who defend human rights in Guatemala.

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Situation of human rights defenders

This situation of instability and uncertainty in this area has severely impacted processes of defending human rights in the country, with increased risks for the people who defend them, especially those working on issues of land and territory.

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Access to land and defence of territory

Access to land and the management of natural resources, especially in the territory of indigenous peoples, continued to be one of the main sources of conflict in the country this year. On 1 March 2018, a bill was introduced in Congress for a law on the consultation of indigenous peoples. Backers of the bill say it regulates the procedures for consulting indigenous peoples about mining and other projects to guarantee the legality of the projects and respect for the rights of the Maya, Garifuna and Xinka peoples.

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Campesino Committee of the Highlands (CCDA) of the Verapaces

Location

Departments of Alta and Baja Verapaz and municipality of El Estor in the department of Izaball

Area of work and rights defended

The CCDA is a peasant organization that accompanies and advises communities, mostly indigenous, that fight for access to land and ownership to create dignified living conditions in the face of eviction and dispossession of their lands where these communities have lived for many generations.

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70 Years of Human Rights and 20 Recognising Defenders

In September, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders (henceforth, the Declaration), Peace Brigades International (PBI) invited 13 human rights defenders who are accompanied by the 7 PBI projects to Brussels. 4 full-on days of meetings that brought together advocates from America, Africa and Asia and PBI members encouraged the exchange of experiences and knowledge in terms of integral protection.

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Annual Reports

Our Annual Reports compile the main events that have shaped PBI Guatemala's work in the last years. We hope they contibute to make visible the important work of women and men who defend human rights in Guatemala.

 

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Special Reports

Find out more about the background to the Human Rights situation in Guatemala with one of our special reports.

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Multimedia

We elaborate different types of information about the human rights situation in Guatemala, thereby offering a voice to human rights defenders working on various issues.

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Verapaz Union of Peasant Organisations UVOC

Location

Departments of Alta and Baja Verapaz.

Area of ​​work and rights defended

UVOC is an indigenous and peasant organization dedicated to the defence and promotion of access to land for the peasant population in the departments of Alta and Baja Verapaz.

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