Experts of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Note Guatemala’s COVID-19 Pandemic Economic Recovery , Ask About Measures to Address Malnutrition
The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights today concluded its consideration of the fourth periodic report of Guatemala, with Committee Experts noting Guatemala’s fast economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic, and asking about measures to address malnutrition.
One Committee Expert noted that there had been a fast recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic, yet poverty had not significantly decreased. What strategies were in place to combat poverty? The Expert also said that there were very high levels of food insecurity and malnutrition. 45 per cent of children under the age of five suffered from malnutrition, as did 61 per cent of indigenous children. Strategies for addressing food security had seemingly not done enough to support the most vulnerable groups. What policies were in place to tackle inequality and support the right to food for the most vulnerable groups?
Ramiro Alejandro Contreras Escobar, Executive Director of the Guatemala Presidential Commission for Peace and Human Rights, and head of the delegation, introducing the report, said that, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government had introduced support funds and programmes, implemented energy subsidies and provided the medical sector with necessary supplies. Those measures had ensured citizens’ access to health, education, food and nutritional security, job and income security, and had encouraged gross domestic product to grow by eight per cent in 2021. The Government had implemented a “Great National Crusade for Nutrition,” a strategy to improve the health and nutrition of Guatemalans, with emphasis on children, women, rural and indigenous populations, and persons below the poverty line.
In response to questions from Committee experts, the delegation explained that to combat malnutrition, the Government was strengthening prenatal care for mothers and care for new-borns. The Government promoted breastfeeding for the first six months of life. Over 200,000 children had benefited from nutritional support programmes in 2021. 35 pilot “health brigades” had been established in areas where chronic malnutrition was highest. The State had reduced child mortality through those actions from 21 per cent in 2000 to 14 per cent in 2020. That figure was predicted to fall to 11.6 per cent in 2022.
In concluding remarks, Mikel Mancisidor, Committee Expert and country rapporteur, thanked the delegation for participating in the dialogue constructively. The Committee’s aim, like that of the State party, was to improve the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights in Guatemala.
Mr. Contreras Escobar, in his concluding remarks, said that Guatemala had made extraordinary investments in health care and measures to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Guatemala would use the Committee’s recommendations as a guide to further improve economic, social and cultural rights.
In his concluding remarks, Mohamed Ezzeldin Abdel-Moneim, Committee Chair, said that delegation’s commitment to answering the Committee’s questions indicated the State party’s dedication to promoting economic, social and cultural rights, and wished Guatemala prosperity and success in upholding the rights of the Covenant.
The delegation of Guatemala was comprised of representatives of the Presidential Commission for Peace and Human Rights; the Legislative Branch; the Judicial Organism; the Constitutional Court; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Ministry of the Interior; the Ministry of Education; the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance; the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare; the Ministry of Energy and Mines; the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources; the Ministry of Social Development; the Secretariat of Food and Nutrition Security; the Office of the Ombudsman for Indigenous Women; the Public Prosecutor's Office; the Guatemalan Social Security Institute; the Permanent Mission of Guatemala to the United Nations at New York and the Permanent Mission of Guatemala to the United Nations Office at Geneva.
All documents relating to the Committee’s work, including reports submitted by States parties, can be found on the session’s webpage. Webcasts of the meetings of the session can be found here, and meetings summaries can be found here.
The Committee will next meet in public at 10 a.m., Wednesday 5 October to conclude its consideration of the fourth periodic report of Tajikistan (E/C.12/TJK/4).
The Committee has before it the fourth periodic report of Guatemala (E/C.12/GTM/4).
Presentation of Report
RAMIRO ALEJANDRO CONTRERAS ESCOBAR, Executive Director of the Guatemala Presidential Commission for Peace and Human Rights, and head of the delegation , said the Government of Guatemala in July 2020 had created the Presidential Commission for Peace and Human Rights, which advised and coordinated Government institutions on the effective observance and protection of human rights, compliance with Peace Agreement commitments and response to the country's conflict.
Since the last dialogue, important structural changes to public offices had been undertaken through the General Government Policy 2020-2024, and various policies had been implemented through the National Innovation and Development Plan. A virtual platform had been developed for monitoring the implementation of the recommendations of international treaty bodies.
To respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government had established funds such as the Fund for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and the Capital Protection Fund, and programmes such as the Family Farming Programme and the Remodelling and Infrastructure Programme for Hospitals and Health Centres. It had also implemented energy subsidies and provided the medical sector with necessary supplies. Those measures had ensured citizens’ access to health, education, food and nutritional security, job and income security. The measures had helped limit the retraction of gross domestic product to 1.5 percentage points in 2020, and had encouraged gross domestic product to grow by 8 per cent in 2021. The strong economy had helped attract increased levels of foreign direct investment.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had seriously affected the national economy through price increases. To respond to the situation, the Government had provided economic stipends to small-scale farmers, pregnant women and families with children under five years old, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food had established a strategic reserve of basic grains.
Guatemala was highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, and so the Government had re-established the National Council on Climate Change to lead the country’s response. The Council had updated the Nationally Determined Contribution document, which committed the State to reducing greenhouse gases by 2030 in compliance with the Paris Agreement. Agricultural insurance had also been implemented to support small-scale producers whose crops were at risk due to climate change. To ensure the protection of water resources, a Water Quality Laboratory and a Vice-Ministry of Water had been established, and various water table regulations had been implemented.
The Government had also implemented a “Great National Crusade for Nutrition,” a strategy to improve the health and nutrition of Guatemalans, with emphasis on children, women, rural and indigenous populations, and persons below the poverty line. The strategy, through public and private institution programmes, promoted access to healthy food, social protection, safe water, sanitation and hygiene, as well as communication for social and behavioural change. Investment in related programmes had been increased from 6,500 million to 10,200 million quetzales.
The Congress of the Republic of Guatemala had, over the reporting period, approved around 45 laws on social protection, social subsidies, emergency care and investment for economic recovery. Those laws had guaranteed the resilience of the Guatemalan population in the face of the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the laws approved were the law on temporary support for propane gas consumers, the law on incentives for electric mobility, and the law on preferential interest rates to facilitate access to social housing, among others.
Questions by Committee Experts
MIKEL MANCISIDOR, Committee Expert and country rapporteur, asked whether the legislature and civil society had participated in the drafting of the State’s periodic report. How did the State incorporate international law, especially pertaining to economic, social and cultural rights, into domestic legislation? Could the Covenant be directly invoked? What were examples of cases where the Covenant had been invoked? Had the State considered ratifying the Optional Protocol to the Covenant to allow for the submission of individual complaints?
What was the State party’s view on the prevalence of racism in Guatemala? What measures had been taken to combat racism? Under what normative framework were consultations held with indigenous persons on development projects? There was persistent discrimination against persons on the grounds of their sexual orientation. Had discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons decreased in recent years?
Public expenditure in relation to gross domestic product was at around 13 per cent, compared to a regional average of over 30 per cent. Only around two per cent of the public budget was devoted to health and sanitation, and three per cent went to education. Could additional resources be devoted to those fields? How could the budget be better used to promote economic, social and cultural rights?
Responses by the Delegation
The delegation said that the Constitution stipulated that international treaties prevailed over national law. The State was bound to respect and implement the rulings of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
All non-governmental organizations would be required by decree 4-2020 to be authorised by the State and to report on how their funds were used, to ensure transparency. That law was currently being reviewed by the Constitutional Court, and did not currently have legal effect.
The Constitution guaranteed equality before the law regardless of race, gender or other characteristics. The prosecutor conducted impartial investigations of all complaints, including those lodged by human rights defenders.
The State had established procedures which needed to be observed in preparing development projects, including consultations with indigenous communities. The Ministry for Energy and Mines had been supported by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the International Labour Organization to ensure that development projects followed international best practices. The Government followed guidelines under relevant International Labour Organization conventions on consultation with indigenous persons.
Linguistic and cultural education was provided to promote indigenous languages and culture. Subsidies were provided for indigenous families to access education services, and school menus incorporated indigenous cuisine. The national curriculum promoted gender equality, sexual- and reproductive education and human rights education. The Ministry of Education was working to streamline curricula across all levels.
An inclusive employment programme had been developed in 2021, and 21,000 people had received support under that programme. The Government also held workshops on the programme and conducted training at places of employment to promote the employment of persons with disabilities.
Questions by Committee Experts
A Committee Expert said that if a State was not able to gather enough resources, it would be difficult to ensure its peoples’ economic, social and cultural rights. Guatemala had one of the lowest tax collection rates in the region. The State relied on indirect taxes, which had no impact on reducing inequality. Levels of tax evasion were estimated to be quite high. What would the State do to secure the funds needed to guarantee the protection of human rights? How would the State combat tax evasion and implement a more distributive tax system?
Another Committee Expert asked why there had been a significant drop in Government spending in the social sector. What was being done to address the income disparity in the State? What measures had the State party taken to ensure that businesses respected human rights and conducted due diligence? How did the State party recognise indigenous persons’ land claims?
Did the State party seek assistance from external development partners regarding its response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects of the conflict in Ukraine? What challenges had the State party faced in obtaining resources from such partners?
MIKEL MANCISIDOR, Committee Expert and country rapporteur, said that the delegation’s response on decree 4-2020 described the situation, but did not explain the State’s position on the matter. According to Transparency International, Guatemala ranked in the bottom 30 countries worldwide in terms of transparency. What measures were in place to improve transparency?
Responses by the Delegation
The delegation said the State party had implemented measures to prevent tax evasion and stepped-up investigations into tax evasion. Tax collection had increased over the reporting period. To increase transparency, the State had set up websites to show where State funds were invested. Tax evasion could be prosecuted in special tax courts. The Government was addressing its backlog of cases of tax evasion, trying more cases each year.
Three per cent of gross domestic product was invested in education. The European Union and the International Development Bank had provided loans to improve the quality of education, and other international organizations were also contributing to strengthening education in the State.
The Government had made efforts to prevent food insecurity, which was a serious problem in the State. Measures to address that problem had led to the number of persons with acute food insecurity falling by 10 per cent since 2020. Budgets had been increased for programmes aiming to prevent malnutrition.
Guatemala had taken steps to align its domestic legal order with the standards of international treaties, including the Covenant. Draft legislation on the economic development of women was being deliberated, but there were no pre-established timeframes regarding its adoption.
Questions by Committee Experts
A Committee Expert said that an estimated seven out of 10 workers in Guatemala worked in the informal sector. What measures had been taken to move toward a formal economy? Had measures been taken to reduce the barriers for companies to move into the formal sector? Was training and incentives provided to businesses moving into the formal sector?
What measures had the State party taken to strengthen the National Tripartite Commission on Labour Relations and Freedom of Association? What had been the results of the International Labour Organization’s visit to Guatemala to follow-up on tripartite social dialogue?
The State had set different minimum wages for the agricultural, non-agricultural and maquila sectors. What was the reasoning for that? Minimum wages needed to be negotiated according to the prices and conditions of the locality, which could mean an even lower minimum wage for rural areas. What measures were in place to ensure that the minimum wage for all sectors was sufficient, and that differentiated minimum wages did not disproportionately affect rural workers?
The average wage that a domestic worker received per month was less than half the lowest minimum wage in Guatemala. About 320,000 people were engaged in domestic service in 2021, but only 324 people had registered in the Special Programme for the Protection of Domestic Workers. What progress had been made toward the ratification of International Labour Organization Convention 189 on Domestic Workers? What measures were in place to ensure that domestic workers received sufficient wages and social security?
The gender wage gap in Guatemala was 32 per cent, according to data from the United Nations Office in Guatemala, above the global average of 24 per cent. What measures were in place to support women lodging complaints regarding workplace harassment, and to recognise the unpaid work and care work carried out by women? Only one in three women of active working age was working or looking for work. What measures were being implemented to encourage women's participation in Guatemala's labour market, including expanding the local availability of public pre-schools or other care alternatives?
Many workers in oil palm plantations in the north worked on illegal contracts, could not access social security or health services, and had low wages. What measures were in place to support those workers? How many complaints from such workers had been processed, and how many remedial measures had been implemented? What measures had been taken to strengthen the team of labour inspectors?
There had been at least nine cases of murders of trade unionists in the period between 2020-2021, and numerous cases of attacks, threats, acts of intimidation and harassment. What measures had been implemented to investigate all acts of violence and threats against union leaders and union members? What measures were being implemented so that the right to strike could be exercised freely, without reprisals, in all economic sectors?
What measures had the State party taken to ensure vulnerable groups’ access to social protection services? What had been the impact of the Institutional Strategic Plan 2018-2022 to achieve universal social security system coverage, especially for agricultural and maquila workers?
Responses by the Delegation
The delegation said that a national policy for dignified work had been established to promote work in the formal sector. Under that policy, initiatives had been developed to generate jobs in the formal sector. The Government had guided over 12,000 people to the formal sector through employment kiosks in local Government offices, which also provided information online. Special job fairs had been organized for returning migrants, women and indigenous persons. Over 12,000 scholarships for studying English language and nursing were being provided by the Government to boost employment in call centres and hospitals. Online training had been provided to make training more accessible.
The Government was not trying to lower the minimum wage. It had established different minimum wages because there were differences between regions in access to services. The Government would continue to increase the minimum wage and support wage increases across all sectors. Discussions had been held with various think-tanks on revising the minimum wage system.
The budget for the labour inspectorate had been increased over the past five years. Sanctions for abuses of labour rights had been introduced in 2018. 4.9 million quetzales in fines had been issued in 2021. The State had provided 43 vehicles for labour inspectors, allowing them to conduct inspections in rural areas. There were currently 181 labour inspectors, and the State aimed to hire 50 new inspectors.
Questions by Committee Experts
A Committee Expert noted that there had been a fast recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic, yet poverty had not significantly decreased. What strategies were in place to combat poverty?
There were very high levels of food insecurity and malnutrition. 45 per cent of children under the age of five suffered from malnutrition, as did 61 per cent of indigenous children. Strategies for addressing food security had seemingly not done enough to support the most vulnerable groups. What policies were in place to tackle inequality and support the right to food for the most vulnerable groups?
Water policies favouring agroindustry had led to water hoarding by that sector. What progress had been made on passing a law on the use of water in that sector?
Guatemala had a problem with formalising the land titles of indigenous persons. There had been a marked increase in displacement of indigenous persons in some regions in 2022. What measures were in place to introduce suitable legislation for formalising land titles?
The low percentage of public funding invested in the health sector had led to lower numbers of health professionals, which in turn led to higher mortality rates, especially for vulnerable groups and the rural population. Eight of 10 women and seven of 10 men did not have access to health insurance. Nearly 99 per cent of the lowest income quintile did not have health insurance. What was being done to address that?
Responses by the Delegation
The delegation said a law of its Congress had ensured the economic, social and cultural rights of Guatemalans during the COVID-19 pandemic. Government responses had given priority to the most vulnerable groups.
Decree 4-2020 did not limit non-governmental organizations’ right to assemble or carry out lawful activities. 88 per cent of non-governmental organizations had not been registered by the State. The State was working to strengthen its registration system and ensure transparency in non-governmental organizations’ activities.
In terms of tackling corruption, Guatemala had made substantial progress. A Presidential committee had been established to monitor the use of public funds and approve policies for tackling corruption. In 2011, the Prosecutor’s Office had also set up a technical support unit against corruption, which had tried an average of 23 cases of corruption per year, and convicted a total of 86 persons. Over 500 complaints alleging corruption had been received by the unit.
The State judiciary guaranteed the right to a fair trial in all cases. The State protected the right to report allegations of abuse by public officials. All allegations of abuse of human rights defenders were duly investigated.
Guatemala held training sessions and workshops for national civil police to ensure that their actions were non-discriminatory. Training sessions on gender-based violence and domestic violence were also conducted. Several indices had been established to identify persons at risk of violence. Personalised support was provided to victims of violence, and action plans on preventing violence had been created. Various protocols had also been established regarding police interventions.
The State party had held an active tripartite dialogue on promoting the activities of trade unions. It planned to establish a national commission on trade unions. The State investigated all threats against members of trade unions. A specialised unit had been established with the Prosecutor’s Office to investigate crimes against trade union members. Five convictions for crimes against trade union members had been issued in 2022. The unit had dealt with over 1,000 complaints in 2021. The system for lodging complaints with courts had been digitised to increase efficiency.
The State had developed action plans on access to healthy food and safe water, and a protocol focusing on preventing malnutrition among children aged five or younger. The rate of chronic malnutrition had decreased by around 25 per cent over the past few years. To combat malnutrition, the Government was strengthening prenatal care for mothers and care for new-borns. The Government promoted breastfeeding for the first six months of life. Over 200,000 children had benefited from nutritional support programmes in 2021. 35 pilot “health brigades” had been established in areas where chronic malnutrition was highest. The State had reduced child mortality through those actions from 21 per cent in 2000 to 14 per cent in 2020. That figure was predicted to fall to 11.6 per cent in 2022.
There was a need to strengthen access to health and nutritional services in rural areas. The State had included municipalities and the construction industry in discussions on expanding health services in rural areas. Guatemala was working to construct more hospitals and speciality medical clinics there. Five temporary hospitals had been opened during the COVID-19 pandemic, and those facilities were now being used as general hospitals.
The Government had issued a law to protect and regulate water basins in Guatemala. Management systems for the protection and conservation of water resources had been implemented. A Ministry of Water had also been created to protect and enhance water resources. Further, a laboratory to test and monitor the quality of water resources had been established.
A series of incentives had been implemented to manage forests with the support of indigenous persons. An agreement with local and international stakeholders on reducing emissions over five years had also been reached. Indigenous persons would be compensated for their role in reducing emissions. 5,000 direct jobs dedicated to protecting forests had been generated. The State party also provided technical assistance to farmers, a majority of whom were indigenous persons.
The Social Security Institute was charged with implementing the social security system and broadening its coverage. There had been an increase in the number of entities joining the Institute in 2022. The Institute had developed schemes that provided coverage for employers with a small number of employees, and employers of women and indigenous persons. It was also working to extend coverage for persons working in the agricultural sector, low-income households and migrants. The number of persons who were covered by the social insurance scheme had fallen in 2020 but was now rising again. Some vulnerable families’ electricity payments had been subsidised during the COVID-19 pandemic. Other Government interventions assisted vulnerable families’ access to health and education.
Questions by Committee Experts
A Committee Expert called for more information on the outcomes of trials for gender-based violence cases, and on public spending on health and education. International law recognised the sexual and reproductive rights of women, and those rights needed to be respected.
Another Committee Expert said that the International Labour Organization had said that there had been 352 cases in Guatemala so far in 2022 regarding the freedom of association and collective bargaining. How could the State promote the social dialogue between employers, trade unions and workers to overcome extreme challenges on trade unions, and improve labour relations?
One Committee Expert said that there had been a ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on a case concerning the establishment of a mining project in indigenous territories in Guatemala. What had the State party done to implement the ruling of the Inter-American Court? What measures were in place to implement a holistic policy on business and human rights, in order to respect labour rights and the rights of indigenous persons?
MOHAMED EZZELDIN ABDEL-MONEIM, Committee Chair, said that when there was high demand and limited supply, prices rose and income disparities increased. All countries needed to allocate resources optimally. What had been done in Guatemala to reduce flagrant income disparities, and to protect lower- and middle-income households from the negative impact of such disparities? Mr. Ezzeldin Abdel-Moneim called on the State party to take the issue into consideration in the drafting of its next report.
MIKEL MANCISIDOR, Committee Expert and country rapporteur, asked about the COVID-19 vaccination rate in Guatemala. What had been done to improve access to vaccines?
Mr. Mancisidor called for statistics on the budget allocated to education in recent years. Vulnerable families in rural areas had limited access to information technology during the COVID-19 pandemic. How did the State party intend to facilitate all students’ access to information technologies? A high number of young women became pregnant during their secondary school years, and pregnancy often led to dropping out of school. How did the State party promote sexual and reproductive health education and work to prevent unwanted teenage pregnancy?
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights had ruled that the State was responsible for the violation of freedom of expression in a case where radio broadcasts from an indigenous community had been blocked by the State. How would the State rectify that violation, and ensure freedom of expression through radio broadcasts for indigenous groups?
Responses by the Delegation
The delegation said that 8.8 million first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and 450,000 first and second booster vaccines had been administered. The State had one of the lowest vaccination rates in Latin America due to a prevalent mistrust of vaccines. Over 72 per cent of men and 67 per cent of women had responded to a State survey saying that they did not wish to be vaccinated. 100 per cent of one ethnic group had responded that they did not intend to receive the vaccination. Objectors to the COVID-19 vaccine had in some cases destroyed stocks of the vaccine and held health personnel hostage. The Government had worked to promote trust in the vaccine among the population.
Regarding the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruling on the effect of a mining project on an indigenous community, measures implemented in response to the ruling had reduced the area of mining activities, ensuring that the project would not have an impact on the land of the indigenous community. The Government had issued land titles to the indigenous community so that they could protect their land.
The Commission for Peace and Human Rights had surveyed the situation of business and human rights in Guatemala in collaboration with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Office had provided guidance on the development of a national action plan on business and human rights. The Commission was conducting a nationwide survey and would consult with the business community and civil society to develop the plan.
The judicial authority was working to strengthen relations between businesses and trade unions and promoting dialogue between those groups. The labour inspectorate had set up committees in order to reduce conflict between businesses and trade unions. The State party was working to raise awareness within the community about those issues.
The Government had developed a programme for caring for pregnant women and children under the age of five through health-, educational and nutritional support. The Ministry of Education had incorporated sexual and reproductive health into the national curriculum. The curriculum addressed the consequences of sexual behaviour and promoted responsible parenthood.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Education had developed a home-schooling programme, using radio, television and other means of communication to provide education. Solar panels and tablet computers were provided to rural primary schools to reduce the digital divide. In 2022, 2.9 per cent of gross domestic product had been invested in education.
The Government was devising new social programmes to support rural families. It was also collecting data on those households to strengthen health, education and other social services.
Questions by Committee Experts
MIKEL MANCISIDOR, Committee Expert and country rapporteur, called for more information on measures to prevent students dropping out of school and teenage pregnancy. Guatemala was lagging behind other Latin American States when it came to education expenditure. High levels of illiteracy also needed to be addressed.
MIKEL MANCISIDOR, Committee Expert and country rapporteur, thanked the delegation for participating in the dialogue constructively. The Committee had addressed aspects that required further attention throughout the dialogue, and based on those would make recommendations that could guide the State party’s future work. The Committee’s aim, like that of the State party, was to improve the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights in Guatemala.
RAMIRO ALEJANDRO CONTRERAS ESCOBAR, Executive Director of the Guatemala Presidential Commission for Peace and Human Rights, and head of the delegation , said that Guatemala was a developing country that had shown its resilience in the face of crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and the cost-of-living crisis. Guatemala would not stop developing, as the information presented by the delegation had shown. The State party had made extraordinary investments in health care and measures to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. There was room to invest more in economic, social and cultural rights and increase tax collection. The State party aimed to adopt laws benefiting those most in need and to respect the rights of minorities. It was committed to tackling malnutrition, strengthening education and making the State more resilient to natural disasters. It also aimed to strengthen indigenous persons’ access to the justice system and to combat discrimination. Action plans and strategies had further been implemented to strengthen education, including distance education. Mr. Contreras Escobar said that the State party would use the Committee’s recommendations as a guide to further improve economic, social and cultural rights in the State.
MOHAMED EZZELDIN ABDEL-MONEIM, Committee Chair, said that Guatemala’s political and social historical context should be taken into consideration. Central America had 200 years of independence, but was still a developing region. That indicated that there were structural issues that needed to be addressed. The delegation’s commitment to answering the Committee’s questions indicated the State party’s dedication to promoting economic, social and cultural rights. Mr. Abdel-Moneim wished Guatemala prosperity and success in upholding the rights of the Covenant.
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