Background and objectives

The Quetzal Prize for Human Rights and Democracy in Guatemala is established in January 2012 by Guatebelga vzw, a non-profit organisation according to Belgian law (statute in B.S. 15/1/2002). It was founded in 2001 to foster democracy and human rights in Guatemala and to undertake actions against impunity for human rights violations in that country. More information can be found on

The general objective of the Quetzal Prize is to stimulate human rights and democracy in Guatemala. In particular, it wishes to support initiatives that fight against impunity, deepen the culture of human rights and encourage accountable forms of governance.

The Quetzal Prize will be awarded to individual persons or to organisations or institutions that have made a major contribution to human rights and democracy in Guatemala. The prize winners do not have to reside in Guatemala or possess Guatemalan citizenship.

An internationally composed jury will select the prize winner and invite him/her to Belgium to accept the prize during an official ceremony.

The Quetzal Prize consists of a piece of art especially designed by an artist.

It will be awarded on a bi-annual basis.

Nominations and criteria

For the sake of the Quetzal Prize, ‘human rights’ are conceived of in a broad sense, to include such classical human rights as the right to free speech and freedom of association, and the right not to be tortured, as well as social and economic rights, such as the right to food, housing, education, and health care. They also include the human rights enjoyment by specific groups, for instance through the lens of gender, age or ethnicity, or human rights in specific situations, such as emergencies and during or after violent conflicts.

It is fully up to the jury to decide if a given activity falls within the category of human rights and democracy in Guatemala as intended by the Quetzal Prize.

Only nominations in English or Spanish will be considered.


Nominations for the Quetzal Prize have to be submitted to the secretary of the jury by  the 31st  of December of the year preceding the award ceremony.

Each person, organisation or institution can only nominate one candidate for any given round.

Nominations should include:

  • a curriculum vitae of the person or a description of the organisation or institution nominated of no less than 3 pages
  • a letter explaining in detail the reasons for nominating the person or organisation or institution, particularly in relation to the general and specific objectives of the prize
  • any additional information deemed useful to provide the jury with a better idea about the contribution of the nominee.

Nominations should be submitted in an electronic format.


All nominations will be evaluated and the prize winners selected by an international jury that will be composed by the Board of Guatebelga vzw.

Additional information

For more information please check the website or contact the secretary of Guatebelga, Mr. Carlos Colson (