Guatemala (CEDAW 22-11-2017)
The Committee considered the combined eighth and ninth periodic reports of Guatemala (CEDAW/C/GTM/8-9) at its 1558th and 1559th meetings (see CEDAW/C/SR.1558 and CEDAW/C/SR.1559), held on 10 November 2017. The Committee’s list of issues and questions is contained in CEDAW/C/GTM/Q/8-9 and the responses of Guatemala are contained in CEDAW/C/GTM/Q/8-9/Add.1.
E. Principal areas of concern and recommendations
Definition of discrimination and legislative framework
- The Committee notes with appreciation that the right to equality is enshrined in article 4 of the Constitution and that the State party has made efforts to adopt laws and mechanisms for the advancement of women. It remains concerned, however, about the absence of a comprehensive article in the Constitution on the right to non‑discrimination, in line with articles 1 and 2 (b) of the Convention, as well as of legislation on the prohibition of all forms of discrimination, including sanctions for such discrimination. It is also concerned about the insufficient measures taken to modify or repeal existing discriminatory laws and regulations and about the lack of implementation and visibility of the Convention in the State party.
- Recalling its general recommendation No. 28 (2010) on the core obligations of States parties under article 2 of the Convention, the Committee reiterates its previous recommendation (CEDAW/C/GUA/CO/7, para. 12) and calls upon the State party:
(a) To apply in its legislation the comprehensive definition of discrimination against women and girls contained in article 1 of the Convention and to prohibit all discrimination against women, in accordance with article 2 (b), and to ensure that that legislation covers all prohibited grounds of discrimination, includes protection from discrimination for indigenous women, Garifuna women, women with disabilities, lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons, in the public and private spheres, and covers intersecting forms of discrimination;
(b) To review its legislation, especially its Civil Code and Penal Code, to ensure compliance with the Convention, and to repeal any provisions that discriminate against women;
(c) To raise awareness about the Convention and women’s rights in particular among women and among all civil servants and the general public.
Gender-based violence against women
- The Committee notes with appreciation the creation of the branch of the Office of the Public Prosecutor with national jurisdiction over femicide and of the specialized courts on femicide and other forms of violence against women. Given the retrogression of the institutions responsible for the protection of women from violence and of the measures advanced in the previous reporting period, the Committee welcomes the recent reactivation of the National Coordination Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Violence against Women and the policy on decent and transformative reparation in cases of sexual violence, forced pregnancy and forced maternity in girls and adolescents. However, the Committee remains concerned about the following:
(a) Pervasiveness of gender-based violence against women and girls in the State party, including the alarming and increasing rates of femicide, hate crimes against lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons, domestic violence, and rape and incest resulting in forced pregnancy, and the absence of reliable disaggregated data and of effective preventive strategies;
(b) Low number of prosecutions of perpetrators and the lenient sentences imposed on them, which result in systemic impunity, and the failure to provide reparation to victims;
(c) Insufficient resources allocated to the prevention of such violence and to victim support services, including shelters;
(d) Reports of sexual violence perpetrated by medical personnel and the coercive sterilization of women with disabilities, including women who are institutionalized in the Federico Mora Mental Health Hospital;
(e) Lack of standardized gender-sensitive protocols for investigating and prosecuting cases of gender-based violence against women and girls and the insufficient capacity and availability of specialized courts on femicide and other forms of violence against women throughout the territory.
- Recalling its general recommendation No. 35 (2017) on gender-based violence against women, updating general recommendation No. 19, the Committee recommends that the State party implement its previous recommendation on the subject and to strengthen the National Coordination Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Violence against Women (CEDAW/C/GUA/CO/7, para. 22). It also recommends that the State party:
(a) Implement, as a matter of priority and within a specific time frame, a national plan for the prevention of gender-based violence against women, including indigenous women and women of African descent, women living in poverty, women with disabilities and lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons, and establish a centralized system for the collection of data on gender-based violence against women, disaggregated by age and the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator;
(b) Ensure that all crimes committed against women and girls, in particular femicide, are investigated by the police, that perpetrators are prosecuted and adequately punished and that victims are provided with adequate reparations;
(c) Allocate sufficient resources to ensure that shelters for women who are victims of gender-based violence are fully operational throughout the State party and ensure that women who are victims of gender-based violence have effective access to medical treatment, psychological counselling, legal assistance and other support services;
(d) Ensure that all cases of sexual violence and of forced sterilization committed against women and girls with disabilities are duly investigated, that perpetrators are prosecuted and adequately punished and that any medical procedure is carried out only with the free and informed consent of those concerned, in accordance with international standards;
(e) Allocate sufficient human, technical and financial resources to strengthen and expand the geographical coverage of specialized courts on femicide and other forms of violence against women, harmonize the different laws and regulations on gender-based violence against women, enhance coordination among the different institutions responsible for their implementation and adopt the use of the Latin American model protocol for the investigation of gender-related killings of women to ensure the gender-sensitive investigation and prosecution of all cases of gender-based violence against women and girls.