Guatemala

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CountryGuatemala
Optional protocolon the involvement of children in armed conflict, on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
ViolenceIn Guatemala, rates of violence against children as well as homicide and femicide against children remain high.
Safety
Corporal punishmentCorporal Punishment is legal in the home, alternative care settings, day care and schools.
Overview of the child rights situation

The report describes structural discrimination of children based on their age as a problem that affects society as a whole. The report also draws attention to the necessity that children’s inclusion and participation should not be just symbolic, but that children’s views must be meaningfully listened to and given due consideration. Furthermore, there is a lack of safety precautions against fire and the overcrowding of public institutions such as prisons, which have already led to serious accidents and deaths.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

Noting with concern the barriers that adolescents continue to face in access to sexual and reproductive health-care services and education, the high incidence of teenage pregnancy and elevated risks of maternal mortality among adolescent mothers, and the insufficient access to modern methods of contraception and family planning, the Committee recommends that the State party decriminalize abortion and ensure that sexual and reproductive health education is part of the mandatory school curriculum.

Discrimination
Racism, children belonging to a minority and indigenous childrenThe Committee urges Guatemala to ensure adequate budget allocation for the implementation of the public policy for coexistence and the elimination of racism and racial discrimination.
Situation of children with disabilities

The Committee is concerned about multiple and intersectional discrimination against children with disabilities in all areas of life and lack of access by those children to community services. Also, children with disabilities face a high risk of abuse, neglect and violence in all its forms. Therefore, the Committee recommends to immediately set up a comprehensive strategy aimed at ensuring full access by children with disabilities to inclusive education, and develop guidelines aimed at providing support for children with disabilities in education.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenThe Committee recommends to enact a legal framework for asylum, and enforce the new Migration Code, in line with the right of the child to have his or her best interests taken as a primary consideration in all decisions related to the transfer of any asylum-seeking or refugee children from Guatemala. Guatemala should also ensure the identification of refugees and their enrolment in the civil registry and strengthen opportunities for children to ensure a prompt inclusion in society.
Education
Free kindergartenNot clear
Free primary and secondary schoolNo
Digital possibilitiesThe Committee recommends to expand coverage of and access to the Internet for children living in rural areas. It further recommends to take measures to increase access by children to appropriate information, including online. Also, Guatemala should adopt measures to protect children from harmful information and products and online risks, and against negative portrayal and discrimination against children.
Health
physical health

Guatemala has high neonatal, infant and child mortality rates, in particular among children born to indigenous families. Additionally, a large number of children under 5 years of age is suffering from chronic malnutrition, which is frequently leading to deaths of these children. The Committee is concerned about the absence of measures to tackle this phenomenon.

The Committee recommends to intensify the efforts to ensure access to health services by children of indigenous and Afro-descendent peoples living in rural areas and children with disabilities, and ensure sufficient and continuous provision of medicine and medical supplies, infrastructure and equipment.

Relation to other countries
mental health

The Committee recommends to establish mental health services and programmes for children with a particular focus on suicide prevention, including the establishment of a helpline accessible 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

Impacts of climate change

The Committee recommends that the State party ensure that the needs and views of children living in the “dry corridor” area are taken into account in developing policies and programmes to address the impact of climate change and in developing disaster risk management strategies.

Business sector

The Committee recommends to require companies to undertake child-rights due diligence, in particular to carry out periodic child-rights impact assessments, consultations and full public disclosure of the environmental, health-related and human rights impact of their business activities and their plans to address such impact.

Situation of juvenile justice

Overcrowded and deficient living conditions in juvenile detention facilities and prisons, which can amount to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of children, as well as incidents of violence and riots are a big problem in Guatemala. To improve the situation, the Committee recommends to strengthen its efforts to curb overcrowding, provide socio-educational and recreational programmes to children in detention facilities and promote the reintegration of those children into society. Also, the Committee recommends that the State party establish specialized juvenile court facilities across the country, in particular in remote and rural areas.

Specific observations

Because of intersectional discrimination, the State party should ensure that antidiscrimination legislation and policies include measures to tackle multiple and intersectional discrimination against children with disabilities.
Also, the Committee is concerned about the deplorable living conditions and maltreatment of, and reports of disappearances and trafficking of, violence against and abuse of, children in public care centres. To improve the Situation, the Committee recommends to adopt a comprehensive strategy to end all abuse of children in institutional care settings, systematically monitor the situation of children in institutions and prioritize investigations of all instances of violence, ensuring the identification and immediate removal of staff responsible for violence and abuse.

Additional BackgroundConcluding observations on the fifth and sixth periodic reports released on 28 February 2018.
Last Updated (date)2nd of March, 2022