To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential impact of the merger of multiple Governmental secretariats responsible for the protection and promotion of human rights in Guatemala into the Presidential Commission for Peace and Human Rights on the safety of human right defenders in that country; and whether (a) she and (b) her officials have raised concerns regarding that merger with their Guatemalan counterparts.
17 November 2021
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office regularly raises the issue of human rights' defenders and land defenders in Guatemala via our Embassy in Guatemala City. We work in conjunction with other international partners, with the aim of promoting full respect for human rights for all Guatemalans. In April, the UK sanctioned an individual from Guatemala and two others from Central America as part of our efforts to tackle serious corruption, and uphold good governance, the rule of law, and open societies.
The Embassy has persistently kept the issue of human rights on the agenda, including by recently hosting its fourth Business and Human Rights Week, which stresses the relevance of human rights to the business environment. The Embassy has also called on the Presidential Commission for Peace and Human Rights on several occasions, raising the issue of human rights' defenders, land defenders, media freedom, and progress on the Public Policy for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders in Guatemala. Officials from the Embassy virtually attended Bernardo Caal's hearing in May after visiting him in 2018. In January and February 2021, the British Embassy, together with Rainforest Alliance and the Forest National Institute of Guatemala, supported a project in La Blanca, Ocos, Retalhuleu to analyse how mangroves contribute to fighting climate change. In doing so, the British Embassy was able to raise awareness of droughts and water pollution affecting Retalhuleu.