Alert Türkiye: Jailed, a woman human rights activist tells her story (video)
Guatemala
05.05.06
Urgent Interventions

Torture in Guatemala: an alternative NGO report presented to the United Nations

Torture in Guatemala: an alternative NGO report presented to the United Nations


The report highlights the lack of political will to investigate and punish abuse of power, acts of torture, sexual violence and extra-judicial killings of detainees, youth and women Geneva, 5 May 2006 On 4 & 5 May, the United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT), currently holding its 36th session in Geneva, examined the report of the state of Guatemala on its compliance with the UN Convention against Torture. On Wednesday 3 May, representatives of the Movimiento Nacional por los Derechos Humanos (MNDH), Casa Alianza, Instituto de Estudios Comparados en Ciencias Penales (ICCPG) and Oficina de Derechos Humanos del Arzobispado de Guatemala (ODHAG), under the coordination of the Geneva-based World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), presented their joint alternative report to the Committee’s experts. Based on first-hand information and research conducted by these organisations, this report points out trends that facilitate impunity for cases of torture committed by State agents in Guatemala. In particular, as highlighted by Ruth del Valle from MNDH, “the militarization of the National Civil Police and other law enforcement agencies encourages human rights abuse”. Moreover, the Commission created to investigate abuse by illegal and clandestine apparatuses composed of army and police agents, has not yet been given the means to operate. The NGOs also pointed out that the penitentiary system lacks an adequate legal framework and control by the authorities. In particular, there is no control over the access of prisoners to firearms and military armament such as grenades in prisons, thus inciting killings among gangs inside penitentiary institutions – of both adults and minors. In this regard, Nery Rodenas from ODHAG stated that “the draft law on the penitentiary system must be adopted in order to counter the abuse of power in the system”. Another trend of torture by State agents in Guatemala is the sexual violence to which women held in police custody are subjected. “Women should be given direct access to a judge and transferred to a detention centre for women if arrested, and a forensic doctor should be available upon the request of a woman” said Claudia Paz from ICCPG. Moreover, “rape of women by law enforcement agents has not been duly recognized as a form of torture in the Guatemalan Criminal Code” added Mariana Duarte from OMCT. This form of torture occurs in a context of generalized violence against women, including the increasing number of violent killings following incidents of torture of women - 626 in 2005 - that remain unpunished. There has also been a rise in violent deaths of children and adolescents, especially those living in marginalized areas. “These killings have been taking place in an organized manner by inhabitants of these areas, who sometimes hire “sicarios” to exterminate them. However, the State has failed to take any measures or set any plan to combat this violence” submitted Claudia Rivera from Casa Alianza. As in adults’ prisons, conflicts in detention centres for minors have also resulted in several deaths. During the past years, the state of Guatemala has failed to respond to most of the UN and NGOs’ concerns in relation to impunity and the reparation of victims of torture and ill-treatment in the country. Casa Alianza, ICCPG, MNDH, ODHAG and OMCT urge the Guatemalan authorities to comply with the recommendations that will be issued by the Committee Against Torture. ******************************************************************************************************************** The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), based in Geneva, Switzerland, is the largest coalition of non-governmental organisations fighting against arbitrary detentions, torture, summary and extrajudicial executions, forced disappearances and other forms of violence. The OMCT leads the SOS-Torture network, which comprises more than 280 NGOs, at the local and regional level, and regularly grants urgent assistance to victims of torture, sends out urgent appeals on grave violations to thousands of recipients, and presents reports to the United Nations treaty monitoring bodies. ******************************************************************************************************************** For more information, please contact: Mariana Duarte, OMCT: +41 22 809 49 39 or md@omct.org Claudia Rivera, Casa Alianza: comunicacion2@casaalianza.org.gt Claudia Paz, ICCPG: claudiapaz@iccpg.org.gt Ruth del Valle, MNDH: ruthdelvalle@gmail.com Nery Rodenas, ODHAG: nrodenas@odhag.org.gt
Sign up now

Subscribe to our latest news & alerts