Australian Greens Senator Janet Rice Speaks up for Guatemala

Text from Senator Rice’s speech below:

I now want to move on to the situation in Guatemala Human Rights Watch has summarised what’s going on in a recent letter, saying President Alejandro Giammattei and his coalition in the Guatemalan Congress are working to remove the last few independent judges and replace them with allies, in an apparent effort to have anti-corruption drive that has implicated many senior politicians.

Legislators are also attempting to block funding to the countries human rights Ombudsman who they’ve tried to remove from office several times in reprisal for his promotion of sexual and reproductive rights including LGBT rights. And similarly, Amnesty International said in a joint statement “as a result of our work monitoring the human rights situation in the country we have documented and reported the improper use of criminal law and other legal mechanisms against against human rights defenders, prosecutors, former prosecutors, judges, magistrates, former employees of the international commission against impunity and defense lawyers who have been in charge of processes that demonstrate significant advances for justice and the guarantee of human rights.

The Australian Greens also note with particular concern the recent arrest of Members of the Ecological Movement of Guatemala. We call on our Government to make representations to the Guatemalan government to release these political prisoners and respect human rights and to immediately cease using arrests and undermining the legal system to attack political opponents.

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