Attacks against women justice defenders threaten rule of law in Guatemala

Women judges and prosecutors trying to combat political corruption and impunity face harassment and persecution from on high

Marlies Stappers and Sanne Weber write in Open Democracy about the attacks on women judges and prosecutors who have taken on a key role in challenging elite interests in Guatemala, focussing on Claudia Paz y Paz, Yassmin Barrios, Thelma Aldana, and Gloria Porras.

The concerted campaign by Guatemala’s political and economic elites to undermine key gains made in the country’s long-running struggle against high-level corruption and impunity has taken a new turn.

Several women within the justice system have played a crucial role in this struggle – challenging not only elite interests, but also gender norms in a patriarchal and conservative society. Unfortunately, these same women have also suffered the consequences. They have faced unprecedented judicial harassment and persecution, with far-reaching personal impacts.


Guatemala remains a strongly polarised country with a long history of human rights violations, including a 36-year civil war (1960-96) in which acts of genocide were committed. Endeavours to promote and protect human rights frequently give rise to stigmatisation and accusations of left-wing political activism from right-wing sections of society.

An important and interesting article which you can read in full here, Attacks against women justice defenders threaten rule of law in Guatemala.

The article is also available in Spanish, here, Ataques contra mujeres que defienden la justicia amenazan el Estado de Derecho en Guatemala.

Categories: Corruption, Criminalisation, Gender, Guatemala, Human Rights, Impunity, Justice, Legal, Lobbying, Solidarity in Action

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