Sep 1, 2012

Weekly News Roundup from Guatemala Human Rights

1 de septiembre 2012

Source: GHRC

August 23-30

  • More than 400 Guatemalan and American soldiers join anti-drug operation The joint operation involves efforts by air, land and sea as a part of Operation Martillo, which began in January and aims to stop drug trafficking along the Central American coast. This phase of the operation began last week on the southern coast with the aid of four US helicopters. Guatemala is used as a port by drug cartels that transport drugs from South America to their destination in the United States. The article notes that 90% of the cocaine that arrives in the US has passed through Central America and Mexico.
  • Pérez Molina to give his proposal to combat drug trafficking before the UN in September President Pérez Molina will participate for the first time in the General Assembly of the United Nations where he plans to present his new initiative to fight drug trafficking. In a radio interview Monday the president noted that the world needs to be more creative in the battle against drug trafficking, because he does not see the methods used in the last 40 years as successful. In February he proposed the decriminalization of drugs as a strategy to end the drug trade.
  • General José Efraín Ríos Montt's amnesty request denied Ríos Montt was denied amnesty for the 1982 Dos Erres massacre, which he had requested based on the Law of National Reconciliation. The law provides protection for some crimes committed during this time, but has exceptions. Ríos Montt's lawyer has stated that they will appeal  the decision, an action that will further delay the case.
  • Commission Against Sexual Violence created Through a new piece of legislation the Commission Against Sexual Violence was created under the Vice Presidency in Guatemala. The Commission was created in order to investigate, report and monitor sexual violence and develope policies aimed at reducing the risk of sexual attacks.
  • Indigenous communities reject new group of Constitutional reforms The Mayan Coordination Committee has stated that the new group of constitutional reforms presented by Pérez Molina incites racism and militarization in the country. The Committee has expressed their full rejection of the group of reforms because the 35 articles make no mention of the recognition of Mayan languages as official languages, and do not establish greater indigenous representation in governmental institutions
  • The Right to Truth in Guatemala After filing an amicus brief in the Military Diary case against Guatemala before the Inter American Court of Human Rights, the Open Society Justice Initiative presented a study on the importance to victims of the recognition of the right to truth concerning the human rights violations committed in Guatemala. The Court has only accepted the existence of the right to truth as a subsidiary right to the right to due process and justice, but its recognition as an independent right, as requested by the plaintiffs in the Military Diary case, would increase the protection of victims, family members and survivors of gross violations of human rights.
  • State preforms acts to dignify children victims of the armed conflict After the Inter American Commission mandated that Guatemala must celebrate the National Day in Memory of the Child Victims of the Armed Conflict in 2008, the state has finally taken the first steps in this direction. The Commission ordered the state to dignify child victims of the armed conflict every August 25. The bill, which legalizes this celebration, was presented to Congress in 2009, but has yet to be approved.
  • Communities request consultations on gold mining project Community leaders have been requesting consultations on the San Rafael mining project for the last eight months. Roberto Pivaral, a community leader, stated that there is no information as to how the company is extracting the gold, how it affects the environment and what damage it is going to cause the communities.  As a result, the nearby communities have continued to protest the operations of the mine.


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