The International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), and the Guatemala Human Rights Commission (GHRC) submit these comments to U.S. Trade Representative Carlos Quintana in support of the on-going review of Guatemala's failure to effectively enforce its labor laws, especially with regard to violations of the freedom of association.
The Government of Guatemala has failed to enforce its own labor laws as required under Chapter 16 of the DR-CAFTA free trade agreement. Labor rights violations and crimes of harassment and violence directed at trade unionists continue to be a problem in Guatemala, as they were 20 years ago.
ILRF, WOLA, and GHRC urge USTR's continued attention to governance criteria. We urge the USTR to take all possible measures to communicate to the Government of Guatemala the urgency of investigating and resolving labor rights violations, and implementing the systemic changes that will allow for labor rights defenders to freely exercise their rights to organize, bargain collectively, and access justice through the Ministry of Labor and Labor Courts.