Guatemala: The Maya Achi women’s struggle for justice
4 January 2022: Sexual violence was used in the internal armed conflict in Guatemala (1960-1996) as a weapon of war, mainly against the Maya Achi indigenous women. The Army and the civil self-defence patrols, known as PACs, were the main perpetrators of these crimes.
In 2011, 36 women survivors of sexual violence from Rabinal, a small Guatemalan town where some of the bloodiest massacres took place, decided to break the silence and seek justice regarding the sexual violence they suffered.
With the support of the Rabinal Law Firm Association (ABJP), they reported to the Public Ministry the crimes they suffered in the 1980s. However, the process of seeking justice has been long and exhausting. Achi women have faced discrimination, racism and re-victimisation throughout the process. Despite this, they have maintained the conviction in the fight for justice.
After 10 years of seeking justice, on January 4, 2022, the oral and public debate will finally begin against five former PACs, accused of sexual violence and crimes against humanity.