Guatemala’s president must veto oppressive civil society reforms
Guatemala’s President Alejandro Giammattei should veto a set of unconstitutional amendments passed by congress on Wednesday that pose serious risks to Guatemala’s democracy and the rights of its citizens to participate freely in their society.
The reforms limit basic freedoms such as those of assembly, association and peaceful demonstration. Among many severe restrictions, the amendments leave a wide margin of discretion, allowing officials in the tax, finance and interior ministries to limit the actions of non-governmental organisations, and potentially close them down.
“These reforms limit the work of civil society, which is essential for effectively combating corruption. They only further the aims of certain spurious interests and power groups that have already caused enough damage to Guatemala,” said Edie Cux, Director of Acción Ciudadana, Transparency International’s national chapter in Guatemala. “Non-governmental organisations support diverse social, educational, environmental and civic causes. Attempting to silence or limit our actions only denies the country opportunities for development,” continued Cux.
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