The First Latin American Symposium on Religious Freedom Was Held in Guatemala

President Giammattei emphasized that religious freedom must be essential to a nation's culture.

by Domenika Reyes

Guatemala City by Julio Morales -AGN- Guatemala hosted the first Latin American Symposium on Religious Freedom, where the President of the Republic and national and international speakers participated.

The Guatemalan Multi-Religious Roundtable, the Universidad Panamericana, and the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University organized the event. 

President Giammattei stated, “Religious freedom is essential. It is a right that believers and non-believers have, and protecting this right helps build peace in our nations.”

The president stressed that religious freedom is essential to a nation’s culture. For this reason, he stated that Latin America must protect it to ensure a respectful society.

Guarantee Freedom

Authorities from the Executive Branch mentioned that the faith of the Guatemalan population is reflected in the Political Constitution of the Republic of Guatemala, establishing its implications.

The Magna Carta communicates the name of God. While article 36 specifies the meaning and influence of religion and guarantees the freedom people have to lean towards one belief or another. 

“My government has been known for respecting society’s most entrenched values and promoting religious freedom,” added the President.

For this reason, he referred to the integration of the Multi-religious Roundtable in defense of cultural diversity and religious freedom as an example. The first meeting of the roundtable was led by the president, on April 26, 2022, with representatives of 24 different religions.

On July 19, 2022, Robin Garcia was appointed President’s Commissioner for Religious Freedom.

The presidential commissioner coordinates strategic actions between the representatives of the roundtable and the Executive Branch. The purpose is to support strengthening institutions and promoting initiatives for the common good, to maintain harmony and peace.

Internationally Topics

The head of the Executive stated that government initiatives to promote and strengthen religious freedom, as well as to contain and overcome actions that limit or threaten it, have been recognized worldwide.

Among these actions was the Conservative Political Action Conference, held in Mexico City. At that event, the policies of the Government of Guatemala in defense of life and religious freedom were recognized.

Other expressions of the cultural and religious demonstrations, encouraged by the freedom of worship in the country, are the traditions of Holy Week. This national event is recognized as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

This recognition was officialized on February 26, during a religious and popular ceremony in the Plaza Central.

The Symposium

Some key topics for this Latin American Symposium on Religious Freedom will include religious Freedom, its relevance and the threats toward this right, the mechanisms to promote it, and extending its effectiveness in other countries.

President Giammattei mentioned, “I have been hosting international guests, and they emphasize the role model that Guatemala is setting with this event. It is the first time  a government supports issues such as religious freedom.” 

During the event, he also announced his commitment to promoting religious freedom in an era of globalization and fast-paced technological changes.

Finally, President Giammattei declared, “This country will always respect Religious Freedom. However, today begins a path many began years ago amid an internal confrontation.”

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