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Urgent Action Outcome: Congress Shelves Discriminatory Law

On 15 March, the Guatemalan Congress shelved Decree 18-2022, which would have toughened the criminalization of abortion, including for miscarriages, prohibited inclusive sex education and discriminated against LGBTIQ+ people. 


In 2017, the Guatemalan Congress received Bill 5272. After several rounds of review, Congress passed the law (then Decree 18-2022) on 8 March 2022, International Women's Day, by a majority of 101 votes in favor, with 8 against.

The passing of this discriminatory law by Congress led to widespread protests in Guatemala, as well as international condemnation, including by Amnesty International, due to the risk it posed to the rights and lives of thousands of girls, woman and LGBTIQ+ people in the country.

Reacting to mounting public pressure, on March 10, Guatemala’s president, Alejandro Giammattei, denounced that the Decree 18-2022 would violate the Constitution and Guatemala's international human rights obligations. He therefore announced that he would exercise his presidential veto power over the Decree, requesting that Congress shelve the bill.

Congress acquiesced to the President’s request, as well as national and international pressure, and shelved the bill on 15 March. 

This is a bill that should have never been debated, let alone passed, by Congress in the first place. The Congress of Guatemala must refrain from pursuing the approval of any other decree or similar pieces of legislation that violates the rights of women, girls or LGBTIQ+ persons. 


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