In order to continue with the process of implementing human rights of people with disabilities from the social model in Guatemala, participation from all segments of society is needed. Join the movement!


The RightsNow! project is honored to work with disability leaders, advocates, and allies in Guatemala to strengthen communities through disability rights implementation.

Guatemala, through the legislative decree 59-2008 signed the CRPD in 2007 and ratified the CRPD and Optional Protocol in April, 2009. At that time, the National Council for the Attention to People with Disabilities (CONADI) was designated as the government agency responsible for coordinating, advising, and promoting the implementation of public policies in compliance with the CRPD. As with many other RightsNow! participating countries, Guatemala has a disability law (1996) and has acceded to regional and international instruments guaranteeing disability rights. However, the general anti-discrimination provisions are not enforced and there are no specific prohibitions around disability discrimination in employment, education, health care, and other services.

Key issues for Guatemalan disability rights advocates include the harmonization of local laws with the CRPD; de-institutionalization, particularly of people with mental and intellectual disabilities, most of whom are shut away in public and private institutions; access to information, communication, public places, and transportation. Guatemala is at a critical juncture in its disability rights history. Coalitions and networks have been working together to harmonize Guatemalan domestic legislation with the CRPD. At the beginning of 2016, a bill was presented to the Legislative Commission on disability issues. It is currently under consideration (No. 5125) and it needs to be urgently approved. The new law would replace the 1996 Law on the Care for People with Disabilities (135-96) and would bring Guatemalan legislation into greater compliance with the CRPD. To date, the law has not been adopted.

Disability-led organizations, policy makers, legal experts and civil society actors are actively addressing disability rights and domestic harmonization issues in Guatemala. They are engaging widely with civil society to identify solutions to guarantee full inclusion of disabled citizens in Guatemala through effective implementation and enforcement of existing laws and policies.

The RightsNow! project welcomes all people to become actively involved in moving the disability rights agenda forward in Guatemala using the tools and resources made available in the Global Disability Rights Now! resource center.

RightsNow! Activities in Guatemala

In October 2016, the RightsNow! project team conducted a five-day introductory visit to Guatemala to meet with a wide range of stakeholders. The purpose of the visit was to gain first-hand information on the status of the national disability legal frameworks, implementation strategies, and disability rights initiatives. U.S. experts met with leaders of DPOs, civil society and human rights organizations, and local and national government officials. The visit was arranged in collaboration with Colectivo Vida Independiente de Guatemala.

In May 2017, RightsNow! sent a team of experts to Guatemala to conduct capacity-based training designed on information gathered during the introductory visit. Throughout 2017, RightsNow! will provide technical assistance on disability rights, the U.S. experience, and implementation of disability rights laws in Guatemala.

Spanish Resources

The key resources below are available in Spanish. It is our intention to continue to provide additional resources in Spanish.