No. 6/03






          The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) will make an on-site visit to the Republic of Guatemala from March 24 to 29, 2003, in response to the invitation by the Government of President Alfonso Portillo.  The purpose of the Commissionís visit will be to observe the human rights situation in the country.  The IACHR will carefully monitor the status of the rule of law in Guatemala, in particular regarding the administration of justice, the situation of children at risk and indigenous peoples, and the implementation of the Global Human Rights Accord.


The IACHR is a principal organ of the Organization of American States (OAS), composed of seven members elected in their personal capacity by the OAS General Assembly.  The Commissionís mandate is to promote the observance of human rights in the Hemisphere, in keeping with the parameters established in the American Convention on Human Rights, to which Guatemala has been a party since 1978.  Among the commitments undertaken by OAS member states and states parties to that Convention is that of extending to the Commission all necessary facilities to carry out its observation missions with full autonomy in the pursuit of its mandate.


The IACHR delegation that is to visit Guatemala beginning on Monday, March 24, will consist of its First Vice President, Dr. Josť Zalaquett; its Second Vice President, Dr. Clare K. Roberts; members Dr. Susana VillarŠn, Rapporteur for Guatemala; Dr. Julio Prado Vallejo, Rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples; and the Executive Secretary of the IACHR, Dr. Santiago A. Canton.  The Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Dr. Eduardo A. Bertoni, will also accompany the delegation.


During its stay, the IACHR delegation will meet with government officials and with representatives of different sectors of civil society, in Guatemala City and in areas outside the capital.  The IACHR will be based at the Hotel Camino Real.  The IACHR will end its visit on March 29, 2003, with a press conference at the Hotel Camino Real at 11:00 a.m.


The Commission is grateful for the cooperation and the facilities extended by the Government of Guatemala, nongovernmental organizations, and other civil society institutions in the planning and execution of this visit.


Washington, D.C., March 20, 2003