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Guatemala : Indicators

2012 > 20 Key Indicators 2012 > Recognition of Customary Rights in Forest Laws and Norms

The recognition of customary and traditional laws in Guatemala is based on the following legal frameworks: the Political Constitution of Guatemala; the mandates contained in ILO Agreement 169; the Peace Accords (specifically in the Agreement on Identity and Rights of the Indigenous Peoples); the convention on biological diversity, and the ordinary legislation (Municipal Code, Law on urban and rural development councils). Despite these legal frameworks obliging the state to recognise the customary and traditional laws, there is no specific recognition of customary laws in forest laws or regulations.

A number of studies evaluating compliance with the Peace Accords in Guatemala show that there is a level of non-compliance with several agreements, including genuine recognition of the customary laws provided for in the constitution and in other laws. The report on compliance with the 2010 Peace Accords published by the Peace Secretariat (SEPAZ) (1) states that although a series of institutions has been created which, in theory, should guarantee the rights of indigenous peoples (and their customary laws), in fact there are a number of financial and legal obstacles which prevent them from being recognised in practice. The report says that the concentration and distribution of financial resources reflects the direction of state policies, where indigenous peoples and women are still not visible. As far as access to justice is concerned, the report states that this topic “has seen no progress”, concluding that such failures “create a complex and adverse scenario for implementation and compliance”.

(1) SEPAZ (2011) Los Acuerdos de Paz, Hoy: Informe 2010 avances sobre el cumplimiento de los Acuerdos de Paz (The Peace Accords: 2010 Report on progress in compliance with the Peace Accords). Guatemala, available at http://www.sepaz.gob.gt/index.php/acceso-informacion-publica/doc_download/25-informe-sobre-los-avances-en-el-compliance-de-los-agreements-de-paz-2010

Title a. Political Constitution of the Republic of Guatemala
b. Agreement on Identity and Rights of the Indigenous Peoples
b. Agreement 169 on indigenous and tribal peoples in independent countries
Organisation a. Congress of the Republic
d. International Labor Organization
Date a. 1985
b. 1996
c. 1989 (ratified by Guatemala in 1996)
Source a. http://www.congreso.gob.gt/manager/images/1188FE6B-B453-3B8C-0D00-549DA12F72CB.pdf
c. http://www.oit.org.pe/WDMS/bib/publ/libros/agreement_169_07.pdf
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