UN Censures Guatemala's "Anti-Coyote" Law

By Kausha Luna on December 4, 2015

Last month, Guatemala approved a new law, referred to as the "anti-coyote law," which criminalizes the illicit trafficking and smuggling of migrants. This week, the UN office in Guatemala released a statement condemning the law. (See Spanish text here)

According to the statement, the UN is concerned by the fact that the law ''addresses migration issues from the perspective of prosecuting illegal trafficking of migrants, regulatory provisions which could even imply the criminalization of irregular migration." The UN also expresses concern for the law's focus on prosecution as a "solution" to a complex subject such as migration, and its failure to provide better responses to the enormous risks and vulnerabilities associated with migration.

The UN also notes that it would be "positive to reinforce the standards on individual cases of asylum seekers, refugees, and stateless persons; in the same way, incorporating a specialized approach for unaccompanied girls, boys, and adolescents and family units." Ultimately, the UN goes on to recommend that the Guatemalan Congress adopt a new law which is more "comprehensive," fits international human rights standards, and better protects migrants.