OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS FORMULATED BY THE IACHR IN ITS
IACHR’s practice of following up on its reports on the human rights
situation in member states is aimed at evaluating the measures adopted
by the states to comply with the recommendations made by the IACHR in
its reports. This practice is based on the functions of the IACHR, the
principal organ of the OAS responsible for the protection and
promotion of human rights, contemplated in Articles 41(c) and d of the
American Convention, in concordance with Articles 18.c and d of the
Statute and Article 57(h) of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission.
initiative of evaluating compliance with the recommendations contained
in such reports in a separate chapter of the IACHR’s Annual Report
dates back to 1998 and the Report on the Situation of Human Rights in
Ecuador (1997). Subsequently,
in its 1999 Annual Report, the IACHR included follow-up reports on
compliance with its recommendations contained in the reports on Brazil
(1997), Mexico (1998), and Colombia (1999).
In its 2001 Annual Report, the IACHR mentioned that the
follow-up report on compliance with the recommendations for the
Paraguay, Peru and the Dominican Republic.
reports included in this Chapter attempt to evaluate the measures
taken to comply with the recommendations put forward by the IACHR in
its reports on Paraguay (2001), Peru (2000), and the Dominican
Republic (1999). To that end, the three aforementioned states were
asked to provide all the information they considered pertinent, in
accordance with the above-mentioned provisions. Apart from the
official information received or obtained from sources accessible to
the public, the Commission also used documents and reports from global
organs for the protection of human rights, as well as information
culled from civil society organizations and the media.
REPORT ON THE STATE OF GUATEMALA’S COMPLIANCE WITH THE
On April 6, 2000, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
(hereinafter “the Commission” or “the IACHR”) adopted its
Fifth Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Guatemala
(hereinafter “the Report on Guatemala” or “the Fifth Report”).
In that report the Commission focused its attention on the State’s
basic challenge of meeting the commitments entered into under its
Constitution, its international and regional obligations, and, in
particular, the Global Agreement on Human Rights. With that aim in
mind, it analyzed the human rights situation since the signing of the
Agreement on Firm and Lasting Peace, economic, social, and cultural
rights, the administration of justice, the right to life, the right to
personal integrity, the right to personal liberty, the situation faced
by detainees, the right to freedom of thought and expression, the
right to political participation and the electoral process, the rights
of indigenous peoples, the rights of the child, the rights of women,
and the human rights of those uprooted by the armed conflict. In
accordance with its conventional and statutory powers, the Commission
drew up a series of recommendations intended to help the Guatemalan
State ensure all the individuals under its jurisdiction full enjoyment
of these protected rights and freedoms.
The Fifth Report was the IACHR’s first thorough analysis of
the human rights situation in Guatemala since the signing of the Firm
and Lasting Peace in 1996. It was within the context of that
inestimably important act for the protection of human rights in
Guatemala that the Commission examined the significant progress made
and the vital challenges that remain pending in the implementation of
the national agenda of peace and reconciliation and the consolidation
of a participatory democracy. The Commission assessed the major steps
forward taken through the energetic action of institutions of both the
State and civil society. These include the cessation of the systematic
human rights violations perpetrated by the State as part of its
national policy during the conflict, the opening up of vital new
spaces for political participation, the involvement of previously
excluded sectors of civil society in the development and
implementation of public policy, the initiation of a process of
demilitarization, and the first determined steps toward establishing
the truth about the fundamental violations that were both a cause and
a consequence of the conflict.
This follow-up report analyzes the degree to which the
recommendations made by the Commission in each of the chapters of its
Report on Guatemala have been put into practice.
On January 14, 2002, the Commission asked the State to furnish
information on its compliance with the recommendations contained in
the Report on Guatemala. The Commission reiterated this request in a
communication of November 8, 2002.
On December 18, 2002, the IACHR adopted a draft follow-up
report; this was duly transmitted to the State, along with a one-month
deadline for it to submit its comments. On January 13, 2003, the State
of Guatemala sent its comments on the draft, most of which have been
incorporated into this report.
THE SITUATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS SINCE THE SIGNING OF THE ACCORD
FOR A FIRM AND LASTING PEACE
In Chapter I of the Report on Guatemala, the Commission
reviewed the main legal and institutional mechanisms intended to
protect human rights, in light of the crucial role that they play.
Whereas in the legal arena it analyzed constitutional guarantees, as
regards the institutional mechanisms in place it studied the
executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government, the
ombudsman’s office, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, the National
Civil Police and the army, and the pending redefinition of their
respective roles. Aware that the root causes of decades of armed
conflict could only be tackled through changes aimed at establishing a
participatory democracy–the indispensable prerequisite for effective
enjoyment and observance of human rights–the Commission made the
following recommendations to the State:
1. Further fortify the resources and support provided to the
public entities charged with protecting and promoting human rights and
investigating human rights abuses, most particularly the Office of the
Human Rights Ombudsman, and the institutions charged with the
administration of justice.
2. Amplify the dissemination of the peace accords throughout the
country, including in the respective indigenous languages, in writing
and by radio.
3. Take decisive action to separate the functions of the Army and
National Civil Police, in conformity with the roles assigned in the
peace accords, and to further strengthen the capacity of the latter to
meet the demands of protecting the security of its citizenry.
4. Adopt the measures necessary to ensure that both the military
and civilian intelligence services are subject to due congressional
5. Amplify the dissemination of the Report of the Commission for
Historical Clarification, especially the conclusions and
recommendations, including through programs designed to teach national
history in the schools.
6. Adopt concrete measures to fully effectuate the recommendations
of the Commission for Historical Clarification, including first and
foremost, the establishment of the Foundation for Peace and Harmony
which will be responsible for implementing those recommendations.
Amplify opportunities for State officials to receive
information and training concerning the obligations of the State
within the inter-American human rights system, and under international
human rights law generally.
As regards funding for the bodies charged with promoting and
protecting human rights, information provided by the State indicates
that Guatemala’s National Congress increased the allocation given to
both the ombudsman and the judiciary in its 2003 national budget. The
Commission was told that in the budget approved by Congress for 2003,
the ombudsman’s office was allocated Q40 million and the judiciary
Q600 million. The Commission acknowledges the State’s efforts to
increase the funding given to those institutions. However, the
Commission was also informed that in the 2002 budget the judicial
system’s total allocation was reduced by 12 percent and, in
addition, a series of delays in transferring those funds had led to
the elimination of the technical reserve used by the judiciary to
cover its salary bill and to buy basic supplies for its operations.
The Commission therefore urges the State to comply in full and on a
timely basis with the budget assignments earmarked for the judicial
branch of government.
In its comments on the report, the State explained that
although the transfer of funds might have been irregular, the
situation–which affected several sectors–was the result of
difficulties in obtaining those resources, which in itself represents
a challenge that the State faces in complying with the Peace Accords.
9. With respect to institutional
strengthening, the information furnished by the State indicates that
the judiciary is working to modernize the justice system and, as a
result of the institutionalized peace, has set up a series of
committees to study, analyze, and propose mechanisms for strengthening
justice. In its comments
the State noted that the increased budget of the Public Prosecution
Service, the National Civil Police, and the judiciary will allow their
modernization needs to be addressed; this is a process in which the
judiciary has been at the vanguard, with the creation of the Justice
Sector Coordinating Office, the task of which is to ensure heightened
cooperation among the agencies of the law.
As regards the Public Prosecution Service (MP), the Guatemalan
government reported the creation of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes
against Journalists and Trade-Unionists and the Prosecutor for Human
Rights. In turn, Guatemala’s attorney general reported that the
agency’s resources were precarious and that as a result, the Public
Prosecution Service could maintain a presence in only 10 percent of
the country’s territory, with one prosecutor for every 75,000
inhabitants, each one of whom is in charge of an average of 1,546
cases. The Commission believes that the success of measures aimed at
overcoming impunity in the field of human rights depends on the
strength of the mechanisms used to conduct investigations. It thus
applauds the appointment of Special Prosecutors for human rights and
for journalists and trade-unionists and the attorney general’s
efforts to secure the resources needed for a comprehensive
restructuring of the Public Prosecution Service; it further urges the
State to provide it with the funding needed to achieve that goal.
With respect to the second recommendation, information supplied
by the State indicates that the Peace Accords have been disseminated,
including their translations into several indigenous languages, with
particular emphasis on the interior of the country. The Commission
commends the State’s commitment toward continuing its sustained and
constant dissemination of the Peace Accords.
As regards the third recommendation–separating the functions
of the army and of the National Civil Police (PNC)–information
provided by the State indicates an absolute separation of the
functions of these two bodies. However, MINUGUA reports that in
contravention of the spirit of the Peace Accords, the army’s role in
law-and-order matters and other spheres of government has expanded.
The Commission notes with concern not only the fact that the army
continues to participate in criminal investigations, particularly
cases related to drug trafficking and organized crime, but also the
orders whereby regional police chiefs have been instructed to share
their daily reports with the army in their respective regions.
The Commission urges the Guatemalan State to fully comply with the
Peace Accords and, specifically, to work toward a conclusive
separation of the tasks of the army and those of the National Civil
Police in maintaining law and order and pursuing criminal
In its comments on the report, the State insisted that the army’s
allocated duties included nothing in the field of law and order; it
did, however, admit that from time to time, at the request and under
the coordination of the Interior Ministry, it does provide the
National Civil Police with support. Although the State claims that the
Public Prosecution Service is responsible for directing criminal
investigations, in that Article 2(3) of the Organic Law of the Public
Prosecution Service requires it to “direct the police and other
state security forces in investigating criminal acts,” the
Commission believes that by its very nature the army cannot be charged
with judicial investigations and it insists on the comments and
recommendation set forth in the preceding paragraph.
The information furnished by the State indicates that the PNC’s
capacity has been strengthened and trained, in accordance with the
ability of the State to do so and with the assistance of the
international community. The government said that with the passage of
the 2003 budget, the police will be strengthened financially and
technically in order to meet the task of protecting the citizenry. In
connection with this, the Commission was informed about a reduction in
the budget of the National Police Academy
and, in light of this, it urges the State to supply the resources and
support needed to enable it to continue its task of providing police
officers with education and professional training.
In its comments document, the State said that the year 2003
budget provides financial and technical support for the PNC Academy,
with a budget increase of some Q11 million. In addition, to strengthen
their training and provide a deeper knowledge base, the duration of
the basic course for aspiring PNC officers was extended from 6 to 11
Regarding the fourth recommendation, dealing with oversight of
the intelligence services, the information furnished by the State
indicates that measures for guaranteeing oversight of civilian and
military intelligence are provided by different legal instruments and
by a number of different agencies, including the ombudsman’s office,
MINUGUA, the Public Prosecution Service, the courts, and the public
administration itself through the internal mechanisms of the
Secretariat for Strategic Analysis and of the armed forces. As regards
specific parliamentary supervision, the State explained that the
Congress of the Republic performs that function through impeachments
and interpellations. Since the information furnished by the State
deals with the congressional determination of political
responsibilities and not with a mechanism for the permanent oversight
of the civilian and military intelligence services, and since
information has been received indicating that no such oversight has
yet been established, nor have any initiatives been taken in that
direction, the Commission urges the State to comply in full with the
terms of this recommendation.
The Commission has no information regarding the fifth
recommendation, about the further dissemination of the Report of the
Commission for Historical Clarification (CEH).
With respect to the implementation of the CEH’s
recommendations, the Commission was informed about the creation of the
National Redress Program by the Multi-Institutional Agency for Peace
and Harmony and the High-Level Commission as a sample of the major
joint effort being made by civil society and the government to comply
with the CEH’s reparations recommendations. This program has been
designed as a process that includes a series of policies, projects,
and actions intended to repair, redress, restore, indemnify, and
dignify the victims of the armed conflict. It was presented to the
President of the Republic, who, according to information provided by
the State, referred it to Congress with the appropriate legal
initiative for passage into law. The Commission applauds the work of
civil society and the government in drawing up the National Redress
Program, and it urges the State to adopt it and put it into practice
in the near future.
With regard to the creation of the Foundation for Peace and
Harmony, the State reported that it had complied with that
recommendation by approving a Governmental Agreement, which failed to
satisfy the aspirations of civil society. The Commission therefore
calls on civil society and the government to work together, just as
they did in preparing the National Redress Program.
With respect to the seventh recommendation–training for
government officials about the State’s obligations under the
inter-American system–the State reported on a series of seminars
sponsored by the Presidential Coordinating Commission for Executive
Human Rights Policy (COPREDEH) for raising awareness about the main
international instruments that deal with basic rights. These training
seminars have been offered to prosecutors from the MP, prison guards,
members of the National Civil Police, and officers and specialists
from the Presidential Guard.
In its comments on the report, the State told the IACHR that
during 2000 and 2001, training on human rights issues and
international humanitarian law was given to 3,735 individuals,
including officers, specialists, cadets, and soldiers. It also
reported on a series of training efforts, most notably the program
carried out in conjunction with the International Committee of the Red
Cross (ICRC) that trained 637 PNC officers stationed in the
departments of Cobán, Salamá, Quiché, Sololá, San Marcos,
Huehuetenango, Chimaltenango, Retalhuleu, Sacatepéquez,
Suchitepéquez, and Zacapa.
The Commission deems the dissemination and training activities
carried out by the State to be of crucial importance, and it urges it
to expand those efforts to cover the largest possible number of
government employees, particularly those responsible for law
ECONOMIC, SOCIAL, AND CULTURAL RIGHTS
In Chapter III of its Report on Guatemala, the Commission
addressed the issue of economic, social, and cultural rights and
presented the Guatemalan State with the following recommendations:
1. Continue to make every effort to reach the goals set in the
peace accords, to ensure an equitable distribution of wealth, and to
provide the State with additional resources for financing public
investment and social spending.
2. Duly comply with the Fiscal Pact and implement proper
mechanisms to prevent tax evasion.
3. Continue to work in conjunction and constructively with the
representatives of civil society, in pursuit of social justice and
sustainable development for the present and future generations in
facing the different problems and challenges that lie ahead.
4. Expand the efforts underway for supporting and funding the
implementation of the recommendations of the Commission for Historical
Clarification intended to repair the damage caused by the human rights
violations that occurred during the armed conflict.
5. Ratify the Inter-American Convention on the Elimination of All
Forms of Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities.
Distribution of Wealth and Social Spending
With regard to the first recommendation in Chapter III of the
Report on Guatemala–pursuing the goals set in the peace accords in
order to ensure equitable distribution of wealth–the Commission was
informed about the launch of the Economic Action Plan on June 11,
2002. The IACHR understands that sustained economic development is
essential for ensuring public investment and achieving social goals.
It also hopes that this Action Plan will be a part of the State’s
commitment toward setting the foundations for increased sustainable
economic growth, with the participation of all sectors of Guatemalan
In its comments on this follow-up report, the State said,
without specifying a period, that the National Fund for Peace
(FONAPAZ) had executed 1,171 investment projects in the areas of
health care and social assistance, education, culture and sport, water
and sanitation, housing, environment, food security, productive
economic development, and rural development.
According to the information sent by the Guatemalan State, the
Plan’s pursuit of sustainable economic development rests on three
basic pillars, which will allow its results to be sustainable over
time. The first of these pillars is the Poverty Reduction Strategy
(ERP) at the municipal and departmental levels. The second is economic
liberalization, intended to encourage a more competitive and efficient
domestic market. The third covers the consolidation of economic
The State also reported that the Action Plan includes specific
projects and actions intended to encourage productive investment,
stimulate economic activity, create jobs, and improve competitiveness
within the domestic economy. The
State’s comments also indicate that FONAPAZ is planning to execute
three major programs during 2003: the Program to Combat Extreme
Poverty, Rural Development, and Developing Human Settlements
throughout the metropolitan region.
The Commission notes that to attain the goal of economic and
social development in the country, the Plan’s implementation must
take place within a transparent and law-abiding framework; that the
concessions process must be based on legality and equal participation;
and that all the branches of government must be involved to create the
legal framework essential for the Plan’s success.
The Commission notes that even though access to education is
one of the issues covered by the Peace Accords, Guatemala’s current
situation shows that this commitment is still far from becoming a
reality. According to April 2002 figures from MINUGUA, Guatemala has
Central America’s highest illiteracy rate and Latin America’s
second highest figure for female illiteracy.
Additionally, according to the latest Human Development Report from
the United Nations Development Programme, the department of Quiché
has the highest level of poverty in the country and the lowest level
of education, which underscores the relationship between poverty and
In its comments on the follow-up report, the State said that as
part of its policy to promote equality within the education system,
the school-age population has been provided with easier and more
timely access to classrooms, leading to increased enrollment figures
at all educational levels. There had been an increase in the children
enrolled in basic education: the Comprehensive Attention Project for
Children aged zero to six (PAIN) catered for 27,990 boys and girls
during 2002, giving an 8.2 percent increase over the 2001 figure. At
the preschool level, the school-age enrollment (5-6 years) was 15.9
percent higher than in 2001, with a total of 334,773 children in that
age group; and primary education reported
growth of 4.3 percent over the 2001 figure, for a total of 2,056,924
pupils. At the secondary school level, the State indicated that
improvements were taking place in both the basic and diversified
cycles: the basic cycle catered to 411,357 pupils, for a 10.2 percent
increase over the 2001 level, while the diversified cycle covered
193,611 pupils, 10.8 percent more than the previous year.
The State also reported that it had strengthened its basic
literacy program as part of its education coverage and its physical
education programs, as well as its parallel or nonschool subsystem,
which is taught through special programs and modules on the radio.
The State also furnished information about the content of its
education reforms, which aim at improving the quality of education,
decentralizing the country’s education policy, and improving its
school infrastructure. The Commission appreciates the information
furnished by the State on this matter and it commends these efforts to
overcome the high levels of illiteracy that have characterized
Guatemala in the past. However, in light of the figures submitted by
the State and those reported by the UNDP, the IACHR believes that the
current education challenge facing the State is to expand access to
public higher education, in order to benefit less wealthy students.
The Commission understands that education is a basic strategic
tool for human development, and it commends the implementation of the
education reform project, the national literacy program, the program
to ensure universal primary education, and the decentralization of the
However, the IACHR notes that compared to the goals set in the Peace
Accords, the levels of investment in education are still far too low.
The Commission urges the Guatemalan State to allocate the financial
resources necessary for the country to attain the progress in
education it requires.
The Commission applauds the State’s increased investment in
the area of health.
However, the IACHR laments the increase in the number of malnourished
people. According to figures from the World Food Program, hunger
affects 115,000 people in the country, of whom 59,635 are severely
malnourished children and 6,000 are in a critical state.
In its comments on this follow-up report, the State said that
in compliance with the spirit of the Peace Accords and the mandate
established in the Constitution, the government’s priorities were to
improve health conditions and to provide special attention for mothers
and babies, indigenous people, and the migrant population. It also
noted that the causes of disease and death are related to poverty and
that they lead to deficiencies that translate into acute respiratory
infections and diarrhea-related diseases associated with malnutrition,
environment, rural areas, ethnic origin, and gender; and it gave a
list of the actions carried out in order to prevent and treat those
diseases and conditions.
Additionally, the State reported that 20 hospital units and 58
nutritional recovery centers had been installed to tackle severe
malnutrition among children. It also provided information about the
creation of the Program of Farm Promoters for Development and Peace,
and about the establishment of a Commissioner for Food Security.
As regards spending, in May 2002 MINUGUA reported that the army’s
budget had outstripped the targets set down in the Peace Accords and
warned that this increased military expenditure was undermining funds
that should be earmarked for social spending, particularly in the
fields of health, education, and law and order.
The Commission notes with concern that despite the international
community’s warnings about keeping the military budget within the
limit of 0.66 percent of GDP set in the Peace Accords, in October 2002
the Guatemalan Congress authorized an additional transfer of Q160
million, taken from the public debt fund and reallocated to the
Ministry of Defense, after the ministry had already received an
additional allocation of Q238.7 million in the first semester of the
year. The Commission points out that increased military spending does
not reflect the needs of the armed forces at a time of peace and has
negative repercussions on the social pact.
The State’s comments on this follow-up report indicate that
the army’s budget for the year 2003 was reduced to a total of Q950
million, a figure lower than the total for 2002.
In connection with the Report on Guatemala’s fifth
recommendation, the Commission applauds the efforts to implement
health care programs for disabled people through the Ministry of
Public Health and Social Assistance, which has a project for providing
disabled members of society with health care. The Commission notes
that the State has ratified the Inter-American Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Persons with
which establishes additional principles that are
consistent with the general purpose of the Law on Attention for
Persons with Disabilities and are intended to protect the right of
disabled people to exercise their basic rights and freedoms, without
discrimination. However, to date Guatemala has not deposited the
relevant instrument with the OAS General Secretariat, and the
Commission consequently urges the State to do so.
Finally, the Commission calls on the State to continue working
to attain social justice and sustainable development for the present
and future generations in facing the different problems and challenges
that lie ahead.
In the 2002 Progress Report, the Guatemalan government stated
that the implementation of the FISAT system had allowed better
oversight of tax payments and improved measures to combat tax evasion
and avoidance. It also reported that as a part of its coordinated
onslaught against delinquent taxpayers, in February 2002 the SAT, with
support from the PNC, had implemented a program of fiscal operations.
The State also reported that the Fiscal Pact Follow-up
Committee (CSPF) has new members–economists with wide-ranging
experience with and knowledge of tax matters–who, together with the
Ministry of Public Finance, gave their opinions on possible amendments
to the Tax Code.
In addition, the State reported its adoption of rules and
resolutions relating to the Law on Banks and Financial Groups. In its
progress report, the State noted that June 2002 saw the enactment of
the four laws completing the basic legal framework for financial
reform, in conjunction with the laws on free foreign-exchange dealings
and on money- and asset-laundering, which together make up the reforms
of the legal framework governing monetary and financial affairs.
The Commission notes that progress was made with the fiscal
reforms launched in 2000, and it congratulates the State for its
efforts in tackling tax evasion and avoidance, as the Commission had
recommended. The Commission also applauds the strengthening of the
CSPF, the enactment of financial legislation, and the launch of the
Economic Action Plan. However, the Commission points out that the
reforms have not been comprehensive and that concrete steps forward
with their implementation have been both few and superficial.
In its comments on the report, the Guatemalan government said
that on the contrary, one essential feature of those laws was their
comprehensiveness and depth. It explained that the process of
reflection and analysis that took place throughout the 1990s revealed
the need for a thorough and far-reaching reform of financial
legislation, meaning a complete overhaul of the laws governing the
central bank, monetary laws, banking laws, etc., whereby the banking
system, banking oversight, and monetary policy were strengthened and
modernized, in accordance with international standards and best
The Guatemalan government is aware that achieving the goal of
tax revenues equal to 12
of GDP is of vital importance to the country’s development. However,
this goal has not yet been reached. The Commission understands
allowing the country to develop requires effective tax reform–one
that does not lose sight of the principles of justice, equality, and
progressiveness, or of the commitment of civil society in meeting its
tax burden. In its
response to this report, the Guatemalan government said that it shared
the IACHR’s view and was making efforts to attain those goals.
The Commission notes that on November 5, 2002, the
Multi-Institutional Agency for Peace and Harmony and the High-Level
Commission presented the President of the Republic with the National
Redress Program (PNR), in compliance with the recommendations issued
by Commission for Historical Clarification in its report “Guatemala:
Memory of Silence.” The Commission commends the joint efforts of
civil society and the government in setting guidelines for the
national reparations policy and in designing a process that includes
projects and actions aimed at repairing, redressing, restoring,
indemnifying, assisting, rehabilitating, and dignifying the victims of
the armed conflict.
According to information furnished by the State, the President
of the Republic submitted the PNR to Congress for approval, together
with the corresponding draft legislation. The bill provides for the
creation of the National Redress Commission, which is to operate as an
autonomous agency charged with coordinating, implementing, and
promoting the actions needed to enforce the Program, which was
designed to be implemented over a period of no less than ten years.
Commission notes that for the purposes of the Program, all those
individuals who suffered, either directly or indirectly, individually
or collectively, violations of the following human rights are
considered victims: forced disappearance, extrajudicial killing,
torture, forced displacement, forced recruitment of minors, sexual
violence, violations of children’s rights, and massacres.
Identifying the program’s beneficiaries will be the job of the
Technical Victim Assessment Unit provided for in the PNR.
According to the information supplied by the State, the program
demonstrates the political will of the Guatemalan government to
compensate and restore the dignity of the armed conflict’s victims
and to alleviate the polarization that arose from the mobilization of
former PAC members claiming a supposed right to compensation.
As regards this latter issue, the Commission notes its deep
concern about the reemergence of groups of former members of the Civil
Self-Defense Patrols (PACs). According to information received by the
Commission, the regrouping of patrol members has become a new cause
for insecurity and instability in rural areas and is seriously
threatening the Peace Accords, the reconciliation process, and the
rule of law. As the Commission has said on repeated occasions, the
PACs were a tool used to control and repress the civilian population
during the country’s armed conflict, serving as informers, in
searches, counterinsurgency operations, detentions, interrogations,
torture, and extrajudicial killings. The Commission therefore urges
the State to take the steps necessary to stop former patrol members
regrouping and to refrain from any official action that could
encourage them to reorganize.
In its comments on the follow-up report, the government of
Guatemala stated that although the Civil Self-Defense Patrols had been
dissolved, a spontaneous grouping of former patrol members, exercising
the right of free association guaranteed by the Constitution of the
Republic, had organized itself in order to secure recognition of the
services they rendered to the nation during the armed conflict. The
State said that individuals who had participated in human rights
violations would receive no benefits of any kind. It also clarified
that at no time had it in any way encouraged the reemergence of these
groups and that it could not restrict these individuals’ freedom of
association since the country’s laws were not affected.
Finally, the Commission urges the Guatemalan State to pass the
legislation creating the National Redress Commission and to implement
the National Redress Program, in a framework of strict compliance with
the recommendations of the Commission for Historical Clarification
intended to restore the victims’ dignity and to guarantee that the
human rights violations and acts of violence associated with the armed
conflict do not reoccur.
MINUGUA, Thirteenth Report on Human Rights, paragraph 7, October
Prensa Libre, “Funcionario
de Minugua: PNC no logra consolidarse” [Minugua Official:
Police Cannot Consolidate], November 10, 2002.
Data from the Verification Report, Education: A Condition for Peace,
United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala. April 2002, p. 18.
The average level of schooling among the poor is almost two years,
compared to an average of 5.4 years among those who are not poor;
women, indigenous people, and the rural poor report the lowest
average levels of schooling. Figures from Debate
magazine, June 2002, 2nd Series No. 19, p. 9.
In its 2002 Human Development Report, the UNDP says that although
there was an increase in the net rate of schooling at the preschool
and basic levels, the vast majority of pupils in public primary
schools lack the opportunity of continuing with their studies.
Data from the June-July 2002 Progress Report, Follow-up Matrix of
Issues Identified by the Consultative Group, February 2002,
submitted to the IACHR by the government of Guatemala.
Health investment rose from 0.88 percent in 1995 to 1.34 percent in
2000, according to figures in the UNDP’s 2001 Human Development
Report. Data from the magazine Crónicas
of Minugua and the United Nations system, No. 53, January 31,
Data from Revista Domingo,
the weekly magazine of Prensa
Libre, No. 1099, June 23, 2002, p. 5.
The State reported the following progress in its comments:
percent of the country’s children are receiving attention for
epidemic diseases such as measles, polio, and human rabies; 99.99
percent of the population are receiving care to prevent dengue and
malaria; 2,840,609 people with Chagas disease are receiving
attention; 100 percent of the population are receiving attention to
prevent cholera; 854,840 children are receiving oral rehydration
therapy, thus saving them from death by diarrhea-induced
dehydration; 2,564,520 sachets of oral rehydration salts have been
provided as treatment; the lives of 27,840 boys and girls have been
saved from acute malnutrition; 756,250 children aged from 6 to 36
months are receiving vitamin A supplements; 195,000 children are
receiving specific treatment for malnutrition and 14,152 aged from 6
to 23 months are receiving iron-based anemia treatment; 13,680
under-fives have been saved from death in nutritional recovery
centers and units; 2,552 Guatemalans have been saved from death by
MINUGUA, Status of the commitments of the peace agreements relating
to the armed forces, May 2002.
Thirteenth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification
Mission in Guatemala for the period July 2001 to June 2002.
National Redress Program, Chapter III.