Guatemala’s Failure to Ensure Indigenous Women’s Right to be Free from Violence Under the International Covenant on Civil on Political Rights

By Eduardo Jiménez Mayo

The U.N.-brokered Guatemala Peace Accords of 1996, which ended the nation’s prolonged civil war (1960–96)—a period in which more than 100,000 people were killed and approximately 40,000 disappeared1—includes an Agreement on the Identity and Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the Agreement).[2] Section II-B of the Agreement declares, “It is recognized that indigenous women are particularly vulnerable and helpless, being confronted with twofold discrimination both as women and indigenous people, and also having to deal with a social situation characterized by intense poverty and exploitation.”[3] In addition, Article 4 of the Guatemalan Constitution guarantees the equality of men and women, and Article 66 ensures the protection of indigenous rights.[4] Despite having formally recognized the human rights of indigenous women, Guatemala remains noncompliant with its international obligations to safeguard indigenous women’s rights, including rights such as: to be free from social origin, race, and gender-based violence; to be ensured the fair administration of justice; and to be free from political discrimination.[5]