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2018- Human Rights Ombudspersons of El Salvador and Guatemala coordinate actions on transborder impacts

In November 2018, El Salvador’s and Guatemala’s Human Rights Ombudspersons signed a letter of agreement on joint action on the project, “Strengthening the capacities of the personnel of the human rights institutions of El Salvador and Guatemala in relation to Business and Human Rights”. The project was supported and financed by the Danish Institute of Human Rights. In the press conference to announce the agreement, the Ombudspersons from El Salvador and Guatemala stressed the importance of working together on a range of issues, including those related to the natural environment and water resources of both countries. 

The Cerro Blanco mine has been the focus of their coordinated actions thus far. Following citizens’ allegations of human rights violations by the company that owns the mining project, the Ombudsperson Offices of both countries met to discuss a joint course of action in line with their mandates to verify the alleged violations. In May 2019, the two Ombudsperson Offices[ proposed a monitoring visit to the mine facilities. The subsidiary Entre Mares de Guatemala finally accepted the visit, but only by the Guatemalan Ombudsperson, claiming that El Salvador’s Ombudsperson had no competence in Guatemala. As a result, the visit to the mine was cancelled altogether. Other joint meetings and exchanges occurred thereafter, but at the time of writing in 2021 the bilateral process has been halted due to the pandemic.

Extractive Project / Proyecto extractivo:
Region / Región:
Central America
Country / País:
Natural Resource / Recurso natural:
Gold, Silver
Jurisdiction / Jurisdicción:
Guatemalan System
Category of Key Actors in Legal Action / Categoría de actores claves en la Acción Legal:
State Institutions
Human Rights Violated/Claimed:
Right to health, Right to a healthy environment
Key Legal Actors Involved / Actores jurídicos clave involucrados:
Human Rights Ombudsperson (Guatemala), Human Rights Ombudsperson Office (PDDH) of El Salvador
Year Action Started / Año de inicio:
References / Referencias:

Procurador de Derechos Humanos Gta, “Firma Carta de Entendimiento entre PDH de Guatemala y PDDH de El Salvador, 12 November 2018, online:, accessed 11 August 2021.

Ultima Hora, “Procuradora se reúne con su homólogo de Guatemala para suscribir carta de entendimiento para fortalecer capacidades de las instituciones”, 12 November 2018, online:, accessed 11 August 2021.