ATD Guatemala Contributes to UN Committee
Image above: Guatemala2020-Lomas-Santa-Faz-zona18 © ATD Fourth World
“Everyone has an equal right to health because all human beings have value.”
“I dream of better quality education. But I am sad to see that our schools do not have very good equipment. Technology is advancing and schools are asking our children to do Internet research. But we don’t even have computers.”
ATD Guatemala contributes to UN committee
ATD Fourth World Guatemala recently contributed to the national periodic review for the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 1. Members drafted a document (download in Spanish) on the status of informal workers, health, and education.
“Work, health, and education are all interdependent. If there is a problem in one area, it will affect the others.”
ATD Guatemala wrote the document in 2020 during the Covid-19 health crisis. To develop it, several meetings and virtual dialogues took place. Participants included ATD members who live in poverty and who represented families from different parts of the capital, Guatemala City. The report addresses the inaccessibility of fundamental rights and the difficulties families face in their daily lives.
In addition, the report highlights the need to support citizens so that everyone is guaranteed at least the minimum of inalienable human rights. Key points include:
- Free quality education: the government should transform the education system by implementing tools needed to develop a more dignified, comprehensive, and inclusive experience for everyone.
- Internet access is a human right. Covid-19 demonstrated that Internet access is essential for both schooling and obtaining social rights. An integral part of citizens’ daily lives, the Internet is an essential element in the right to education. During the pandemic, many students were unable to attend school because they did not have Internet access or computers. In many cases this had severe consequences for the children in the most disadvantaged families.
- Education is a right, not a product.
- Better access to health care in working-class neighborhoods and areas outside cities.
- Informal workers: the government must consider the voices of informal workers. It should implement a better employment policy based on the experiences and knowledge of all people.
- The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is a group of independent experts that oversees the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Every 5 years all member states must submit a report to the committee, detailing how rights are respected, protected and fulfilled.