Guatemalan President Accuses OAS of Extortion on Abortion and Transgender Ideology

By | June 30, 2022

Alejandro Giammattei, President of Guatemala

WASHINGTON, D.C. July 1 (C-Fam) Guatemala’s president, Alejandro Giammattei, accused the Inter-American Human Rights Commission of “extortion” to promote abortion and transgender ideology.

“The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights should not be activist on these issues (abortion, marriage, and transgender issues). It should respect the sovereignty and freedom of each state to decide on these issues, as the recent ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court demonstrated,” Giammattei said at the Headquarters of the Organization of American States, referring to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last week declaring that abortion policies should not be imposed by judges, but democratically debated and adopted.

Giammattei’s speech was received by emphatic and sustained applause by the Ambassadors of the Permanent Council of the Organization for American States.

The Guatemalan president said the Inter-American Commission had acted with “disdain” for the Guatemalan constitution and democracy to promote abortion and accused it of becoming a “perverse tool” to promote activism and un-democratic ideologies.

Giammattei was in Washington to defend Guatemala’s human rights record after the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights added Guatemala on a list of Human Rights abusers alongside Cuba and Venezuela. He said the Commission acted lawlessly and accused the Commission of threatening Guatemala to extort compliance with its ideological mandates.

“When one receives a note from the CIDH saying that his country will be placed on a list of human rights abusers unless the commission is invited into the country; this is a threat, and it is extortion! This is not legal!” Giammattei exclaimed forcefully in off-the-cuff remarks.

Among the reasons Guatemala was ostensibly added to the list, Giammattei cited his signing of the “Geneva Consensus Declaration,” an international agreement launched by the Trump administration in October 2020 which declares that abortion is not an international right and recognizes the sovereign prerogative of countries to protect life and the family in their laws and policies to protect women’s health. Earlier this year, Guatemala was praised as the “pro-life capital of the American continent.”

Giammattei emphasizes that there is no international obligation to allow abortion for any reason under international treaties. He accused the Inter-American Commission of promoting its own interpretations of treaties as if they were final and of interfering in the internal democratic political debates and judicial affairs of countries. This, he said, violated the mandate of the Commission to act in a way that is “subsidiary and complementary” to the constitutional system of each country.

“Guatemala is a sovereign country and a democracy, and it remains committed to fulfilling its obligations under the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights, so long as these are obligations that states consented to when they established the Inter-American system,” Giammattei said.

He also urged all members of the Organization of American States to reform the Inter-American Human Rights system in order to prevent abuses like the one carried out against Guatemala.

“It is important that we work together to strengthen the inter-American human rights system because the lawlessness and lack of respect for the rule of law that is today being inflicted on Guatemala tomorrow may be carried out against any of the member states of the organization. Today it is us, tomorrow it could be any of you,” he warned.

Before his remarks Giammattei also showed a video on behalf of the Guatemalan Congress rebuking the Commission for criticizing a recent law to protect the family, to protect adolescent children who identify as transgender from mutilation, and from being placed on hormone drugs that permanently stunt their sexual development.