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Victims and survivors mark 25 years of the signing of the Guatemala peace accords

15 December 2021: To mark 25 years of the signing of the peace accords in Guatemala, Impunity Watch and the Platform for Victims of the Internal Armed Conflict carried out a series of regional consultations to gather the perceptions of victims and survivors of the conflict on compliance with the accords.

The analysis was based on three agreements: Agreement on the Establishment of the Commission for Historical Clarification; Agreement on Strengthening Civil Power and the Role of the Army in a Democratic Society; and the Global Agreement on Human Rights. These refer to the rights of victims and survivors.

According to the report, Twenty-five years of the peace accords: Perceptions of victims and survivors of the internal armed conflict (in Spanish), the participation of victims remains crucial for achieving structural changes in Guatemala. However, the victims say they are disappointed by the abandonment of the peace agenda and have lost confidence in the state. They say that, since the government of former President Otto Pérez in 2012, the institutions that ensure the implementation of the peace accords have been deteriorating, with the hardest blow struck by President Alejandro Giammattei in 2020 who closed Secretaría de la Paz (Peace Secretariat) and the COPREDHE (Presidential Human Rights Commission).

Feliciana Macario of CONAVIGUA (the National Coordination of Widows of Guatemala) said:

"The peace accords are still in force because the conditions of exclusion, racism and labour exploitation that gave rise to the armed conflict have not changed."

 

The victims and survivors highlighted that the root causes of the armed conflict remain, and they are concerned about the recent increase in militarisation and the attacks on human rights defenders, especially those who defend the territory. At the same time, important advances in justice were recognised, such as the genocide trials with Rios Montt, the Molina Theissen, Sepur Zarco, Dos Erres cases, as well as ongoing cases such as the genocide case during the Lucas García dictatorship, the Creompaz case, and the Mujeres Achi case, among others. Despite this, the main obstacle continues to be the lack of political will to advance pending cases and prosecute those who held decision-making positions during the war.

To mark the 25 years, a ceremony organised by the Platform for Victims of the Internal Armed Conflict and Impunity Watch was held on 15 December. It was attended by:

 

  • Human Rights Ombudsman Jordán Rodas

  • Representative of the OHCHR in Guatemala Mika Kanervavuori 

  • Ambassador of Sweden to Guatemala Hans Magnusson

  • Representative of the National Platform of Victims of the Armed Conflict Miguel Itzep

  • Feliciana Macario of CONAVIGUA.

 

Delegates from organisations from different regions of the country also took part.

The report  is available in Spanish.