A national consultation of Guatemalan civil society was held 15 and 16 April 2015, in Guatemala City, Guatemala. The event was convened by civil society organizations Breaking Silence and Impunity and Project Counseling Services. Luz Mendez, a member of the High Level Advisory Group for the Global Study, participated in the consultation, along with 51 women from 22 organizations. Participants included indigenous and non-indigenous women, including victims of sexual violence during the conflict, those working towards transitional justice efforts, key actors in the peace process, and activists for land rights.
Despite peace accords signed in 1996 that ended the 36-year long conflict in Guatemala, many of the underlying causes of the conflict remain. The peace accords have not been fully implemented. While some progress has been made in the field of women’s rights, the state has at times been hostile to human rights defenders. Extractive corporations have been a new source of social conflict, insecurity, militarization and violence against women in the country.
Key recommendations from the consultation include:
- The need to adopt a human security perspective on peace;
- The need for the State to ensure justice for victims of sexual violence, provide reparations for victims of sexual violence during the conflict, and to recognize its responsibility for crimes committed during the conflict;
- The need for the international community to hold the State accountable for interference in the justice system;
- The need for the State to fulfill the peace accords;
- The importance of inclusion of the civil society in state processes, especially in the area of women’s rights;
- The importance of extending the mandate of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG);
- The need to hold extractive corporations responsible for human rights violations and prevent further such violations;
- The importance of eliminating discrimination against indigenous people, and of ensuring state officials working in indigenous areas speak the languages of the region.