Alejandro Giammattei, the president of Guatemala, demanded that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) “respect the sovereignty and freedom of each state” and stop being a “activist” for abortion during a protocol session of the Organization of American States’ Permanent Council on June 28 in Washington, D.C.
Giammattei attacked Chapter IV.b of the IACHR’s 2021 Annual Report, which singles out Guatemala.
The commission noted that Guatemala had ratified “the Geneva Consensus to Promote Women’s Health and the Promotion of the Family,” which affirms that “there is no international obligation of the states to guarantee or facilitate its access” and “expressly excludes abortion as an integral part of women’s right to sexual and reproductive health.”
The IACHR further chastised Guatemala for “totally” forbidding abortion “unless when there is danger to the woman’s life.”
According to the IACHR, Guatemala must take “the legislative measures, public policies, and any other measure that may be necessary… to guarantee women’s access to sexual and reproductive health goods and services without any discrimination, including access to the voluntary termination of pregnancy in situations posing a threat to life or health, as well as in cases of rape and incest.”
The IACHR describes itself as “a major and autonomous agency of the Organization of American States whose aim is to promote and protect human rights in the American hemisphere,” according to its website.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’s report, according to the president of Guatemala, contains a “methodological error that makes evident an agenda in favor of abortion that exceeds its powers, because the IACHR should not be an activist on these issues but rather respect the sovereignty and freedom of each state to decide on these issues.”
Giammattei cited as an illustration “the recent verdict that we saw here in the United States on this,” alluding to the June 24 Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled there is no constitutional “right” to abortion.
Guatemala’s president stated that his nation “has always cooperated with its human rights obligations and has presented the commission with all the information it has requested.”
The illegality and disregard for [the country’s] laws that are being committed against Guatemala today may be committed tomorrow against any other member state of the organization, he added, thus it is imperative that we work together to improve the Inter-American Human Rights System.