Security & Strategic Review - April 2022

GUATEMALA/REGION: Gender rights remain in a precarious state

On 8 March, International Women’s Day, Guatemala’s congress approved a bill (5272) that toughens sanctions for abortion, which is currently only permitted in Guatemala in cases where the woman’s life is at risk. After widespread outcry, congress subsequently shelved the initiative. While this was welcomed by human rights groups both locally and abroad, the threat to roll-back reproductive rights follows legislation approved last year in Honduras where abortion is currently outlawed in all circumstances, making it more difficult to legalise it [SSR-21-03], which had already fanned fears regarding a backsliding in gender rights. More generally it comes amid signs that violence against women is on the rise – not just in Guatemala but across the sub-region.

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