Vance Center Concludes Workshop Series for 65 Civil Society Organizations in Guatemala

April 2024

For the last five months, the Vance Center has partnered with UNDP in Guatemala to implement the project “Voces Ciudadanas por la Justicia y la Paz,” which included a workshop on judicial independence and integrity for 65 civil society organizations.

Vance Center Associate Executive Director Jaime Chávez Alor presents to participants during one of the workshops in Guatemala. Photo credit: Vance Center

The Vance Center this week completed the “Voces Ciudadanas por la Justicia y la Paz” project, a five-month partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Guatemala. This initiative empowered 65 civil society organizations (CSOs) across Guatemala with essential knowledge and tools to advocate for judicial independence and integrity. 

The project comprised a 10-session workshop series held in multiple locations over the first few months of 2024. Through a mix of virtual sessions and in-person gatherings, participants from three regions of Guatemala gained valuable insights and exchanged experiences related to these critical themes: 

  • Judicial independence 
  • Judicial civil service 
  • Concentration of powers in the judiciary 
  • Open justice 
  • Combating corruption 
  • Appointment of judges 
  • Judges’ freedom of expression and association 
  • Diversity within the judiciary and its relationship to a strong and independent judiciary 
  • International mechanisms 
  • Civil society participation and oversight 

While not all participating CSOs directly work with the judiciary, these groups recognized that a strong and independent judicial system is essential for their human rights and access to justice advocacy efforts. The workshops catered to organizations working on a range of rights issues including the rule of law, Indigenous peoples’ rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, freedom of the media, and more. 

The Vance Center’s presentations drew on international best practices and tailored them to Guatemala’s specific context to ensure the information would be relevant and useful for the attending organizations. Participants also learned about mechanisms to hold the judiciary accountable and promote transparency. 

The Vance Center is grateful to all of the participating organizations and UNDP Guatemala for their active engagement and contributions to making this workshop series a success.