Guatemala has acknowledged the harm caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas (EWIPA) and committed to action on the matter.
Guatemala has spoken against the use of EWIPA on numerous occasions. At the UN Security Council Debate on Children and Armed Conflict in February 2013, Guatemala expressed its concern with the use of “explosives of ample coverage in dense populations centers or areas where populations converge.” During the June 2015 UN Security Council Debate on Children and Armed Conflict, Guatemala firmly condemned the use of EWIPA, “because this increases the vulnerability of children, resulting in an increased number of deaths and incidents of mutilation, as well as prolonged suffering, destruction and chaos.” Guatemala similarly condemned the use of EWIPA at the UN General Assembly First Committee in 2015, reminding states of the importance of adhering to international humanitarian law (IHL).
In October 2018, Guatemala was one of 50 states to endorse the joint statement on the use of EWIPA at the UN General Assembly First Committee, calling attention to the devastating and long-lasting humanitarian impacts of the use of EWIPA and urging states to reverse the trend of high levels of civilian harm. Guatemala also endorsed the joint statement during the 74th United Nations General Assembly First Committee in 2019. The statement encouraged states to participate in international efforts to address the impacts of the use of EWIPA on civilians, including by working towards the creation of an international political declaration on this issue.
The Community of Latin American and Caribbean states (CELAC), of which Guatemala is a member, drew attention to the harm of weapons such as cluster munitions and antipersonnel mines on civilian populations in a statement to the UN General Assembly First Commission in October 2018. The statement emphasised that the use of these weapons is in clear violation with international humanitarian law (IHL) and called on all states to take immediate measures to ameliorate the humanitarian harms which they cause.
Along with 22 other Latin American and Caribbean states, Guatemala participated in the Santiago Regional Meeting on Protecting Civilians from the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas in 2018. The meeting produced the Santiago Communiqué in which the participating states agreed to take further action on the issue, including, but not limited to, the following:
- “Encourage collection of data and information to increase awareness and enhance knowledge about the impact of explosive weapons on civilians in populated areas;
- Avoid the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas;
- Act to enhance compliance with international humanitarian and human rights law to ensure the protection of civilians and civilian objects, including school and hospitals during armed conflict and to contribute to alleviating humanitarian harm resulting from the effects of explosive weapons in populated areas
- Develop effective measures to prevent attacks in contravention of applicable international law against hospitals and schools and protected persons in relation to them;
- Fully support the process that will lead to the negotiation and adoption of an international political declaration on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas;
- Promote bilateral and regional cooperation through sharing experiences, good practices and expertise on reducing the harm caused by explosive weapons to civilians;
- Constructively engage in discussions and initiatives at international level that could effectively provide greater protection to civilians in armed conflicts;
- Foster deeper and further engagement from the Latin American and Caribbean states and facilitate increased involvement as a group of States;
- Continue and strengthen cooperation and partnerships with international organizations and civil society organizations to draw upon their relevant expertise and support;
- Channel contributions to the draft international political declaration on the matter, as well as engage in advocacy, at national, regional and international levels.”
Guatemala again condemned the use of EWIPA and reaffirmed the commitments within the Santiago Communiqué during the UN Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict in May 2019.
 UN Security Council, S/PV.6917 (2013). ‘UN Security Council Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict Meeting Transcript.’ https://undocs.org/en/S/PV.6917 (Resumption1).
 UN Security Council (2015). ‘UN Security Council Debate on Children and Armed Conflict Transcript.’ https://undocs.org/en/S/PV.7466.
 Permanent Mission of Guatemala to the United Nations (2015). ‘UNGA70 First Committee Statement Conventional Weapons Debate’. https://reachingcriticalwill.org/images/documents/Disarmament-fora/1com/1com15/statements/27October_Guatemala.pdf.
 Permanent Mission of Ireland to the United Nations (2018). ‘UNGA73 First Committee Joint Statement on Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas (EWIPA)’. https://reachingcriticalwill.org/images/documents/Disarmament-fora/1com/1com18/statements/25Oct_EWIPA.pdf.
 INEW (2019). ‘Seventy-one States call for Action on Impact of Explosive Weapons in Joint Statement to UN General Assembly’. https://www.inew.org/seventy-one-states-call-for-action-on-impact-of-explosive-weapons-in-joint-statement-to-un-general-assembly/.
 Permanent Mission of Ireland to the United Nations (2019). ‘UNGA74 First Committee Joint Statement on Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas (EWIPA)’. https://article36.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/UNGA74-joint-statement-on-explosive-weapons-in-populated-areas.pdf.
 CELAC (2018). ‘UNGA73 First Committee Statement’. https://reachingcriticalwill.org/images/documents/Disarmament-fora/1com/1com18/statements/10Oct_CELAC.pdf.
 INEW (2018). ‘Santiago Communiqué’. https://www.inew.org/communique-from-regional-meeting-on-protecting-civilians-from-the-use-of-explosive-weapons-in-populated-areas-santiago-chile/.
 UN Security Council (2019). ‘UN Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict Meeting Transcript’. https://undocs.org/en/S/PV.8534.