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Guatemala : Indicators

2012 > 20 Key Indicators 2012 > Legal Right to Free Prior and Informed Consent

Guatemala has a national legislative framework and ratified international instruments which recognise and regulate the right of (indigenous) communities to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) in economic development processes and with regard to the use and operation of the natural resources present in their territories. The political constitution recognises the pre-eminence of International Human Rights over domestic law, a situation which obliges the State to respect rights inherent to human beings, which includes consultation of indigenous peoples and communities, in matters “likely to affect them directly”. On a domestic level, the regulations referring to consultation and FPIC are based on article 44 and 66 of the Political Constitution of Guatemala, on the Peace Accords, on the Decentralisation Law (Article 18), Law on Urban and Rural Development Councils (Article 2) and the Municipal Code (Art.35. 65 and 93).

Non-governmental organisations responsible for ensuring respect for human rights in Guatemala have published easy-to-read books and leaflets of the international treaties related to FPIC, in some cases with versions in indigenous languages, although these are not found on internet websites.

Despite this legislative framework, one of the difficulties for effective application of the norms is the lack of appropriate and complete regulation to make it easy for the indigenous peoples to exercise their rights fully. This situation contributes to a high degree of social conflict in the country, for example in the development of infrastructure such as the construction of the Xalalá dam (1). The 2011 report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of the indigenous peoples highlighted the fact that the “state’s duty to consult the indigenous peoples is not regulated in the Political Constitution of Guatemala, [and] the guidance in the constitution which provides for the adoption of a law regulating matters relating to the indigenous peoples has, to date, not been developed.” (2)

(1) Copenhagen Initiative for Central America and Mexico (2008) Proyecto Xalalá: ¿Desarrollo para todos? (Xalalá Project: Development for all?) CIPCA: Belgium, available at: http://www.albedrio.org/htm/documentos/InformeCIFCAXalala.pdf
(2) United Nations Human Rights Council (2011) Observations on the situation of the rights of indigenous peoples in relation to extraction projects and other types of projects, in their traditional territories, available at: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/indigenous/rapporteur/docs/GuatemalaIP16th_AUV.pdf

Title a. The Political Constitution of the Republic of Guatemala.
b. Law on Urban and Rural Development Councils
c. ILO Agreement 169
d. United Nations Declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples
e. Municipal Code
f. Decentralisation Law
g. Peace Accords (Agreement on the identity and rights of Indigenous Peoples)
Organisation a. Congress of the Republic of Guatemala
b. Municipal Development Institute
c. Employment Ministry
d. Employment Ministry
e. Municipal Development Institute
f. Municipal Development Institute
Date a. The Political Constitution of the Republic of Guatemala (1985)
b. Law on Urban and Rural Development Councils (2002)
c. ILO 169, ratified by the State of Guatemala in 1996
d. United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007)
e. The Municipal Code (2002)
f. Decentralisation Law (2002)
g. Peace Accords (1996)
Source a. http://www.congreso.gob.gt/manager/images/1188FE6B-B453-3B8C-0D00-549DA12F72CB.pdf
b. http://www.infom.org.gt/index.php/archivos/leyconsejodesarrollo.pdf
c. http://www.mintrabajo.gob.gt/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=114:convenios-internacionales-119-al-182&catid=56:conveniosinternacionales&Itemid=2
d. http://www.oj.gob.gt/es/QueEsOJ/EstructuraOJ/UnidadesAdministrativas/CentroAnalisisDocumentacionJudicial/cds/CDs%20leyes/2010/pdfs/decrees/D022-2010.pdf
e. http://www.infom.org.gt/index.php/archivos/codigomunicipal.pdf
f. http://www.infom.org.gt/index.php/archivos/leydescentralizacion.pdf
g. http://www.guatemalaun.org/bin/documents/Acuerdo%20Pueblos%20Ind%C3%ADgenas.pdf
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