October 17, 2018
  • Promoting nonviolence and protecting human rights defenders since 1981
PBI Guatemala > What we do > Project focus > Land 

Land issues

By virtue of the Accord regarding Socio-economic Areas and the Agrarian Situation, the Guatemalan government should create rural development and work to diminish the large social inequality that exists in Guatemala. More than half of the population lives below the poverty line and at least 15% live in abject poverty. According to the U.N. Verification Mission (MINUGUA), 'the lack of resources for the pertinent institutions and the lack of progress in the legislative arena have created obstacles to advancement in this sphere.'"

  1. Access to land

    One of the most intractable problems in Guatemala is the issue of land access. PBI has accompanied processes of rural peasants, returned refugees, and groups of internally displaced people, both those organized and dispersed across the country.

    We have learned from past experience that access to land is one of the principle problems that has yet to be resolved. Accompanying these processes requires that PBI takes into account ahead of time legal limitations and the limits of our own mandate of nonviolence, no-partisanship, and non-interference.

    The Project will strengthen its accompaniment of this process through:

    • Distributing information through our publications.

    • Prioritizing this accompaniment in all our work areas.

    • Exploring other possible options for accompaniment in this area.

    • Actions already being carried out such as the accompaniment of organizations of people living on the outskirts of Guatemala City and squatter communities that are trying to gain legal land titles for properties they have occupied over the course of various years.

  2. Organizations working for the rights of rural laborers.

The situation of Guatemalan rural laborers is alarming. Around four hundred agricultural workers are fired monthly for illegitimate reasons. According to Manuel Pablo Quino, Secretary General of the Grassroots Peasant Federation (FEDECAMPO), these reasons include demanding the minimum wage and being affiliated with labour unions.

In addition to suffering such firings, rural workers are victims of threats, acts of intimidation, persecution, legal attacks and assassinations. These aggressions are carried out by employers who are not interested in seeing their workers organize, given that many workers learn about their rights through the union.

This is a relatively new area of work for PBI in Guatemala. The team will need to explore and deepen our knowledge in order to understand how we can better accompany this process.

The steps to take will be:

  • Follow-up with and strengthen our contacts with Guatemalan labor unions that work with rural laborers and peasant organizations.

  • Distributing information through our publications.

  • Prioritizing this process for exploration and investigations in all our work areas.

Oficina del Proyecto: Avenida Entrevías, 76, 4º B, 28053 Madrid, Estado Español, Tel: (34) 918 543 150

Equipo en Guatemala: 3a Avenida 'A' 3-51, Zona 1, Ciudad Guatemala, Guatemala, C.A. Tel: (502) 2220 1032

International Office, Development House, 56-64 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4LT, U.K. Tel: +44 20 7065 0775
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