GENEVA (29 August 2017) – I am deeply disturbed by the unprecedented decision of the President of Guatemala, Jimmy Morales, to declare the head of the UN-backed International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala, Iván Velásquez, persona non grata and order his immediate expulsion from the country.
Velásquez and the Commission, known by its Spanish initials as CICIG, together with the Attorney General, Thelma Aldana, and her office, play a critically important role in the fight against impunity and corruption in Guatemala.
I note that the Constitutional Court has issued an injunction, provisionally suspending the President’s decision. I call on the Guatemalan Government to allow CICIG to carry out its work unimpeded and to take steps to guarantee the protection of human rights defenders, judicial officials, including the Attorney General and high court judges, and CICIG’s staff.
The President and State institutions at all levels must continue to ensure protection of human rights, and full respect for the rule of law.
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