Members of the Platform of Victims and Survivors of the Internal Armed Conflict outside the Constitutional Court of Guatemala. Photo credit: Courtesy of AJR
On October 5, the National Platform of Victims of the Internal Armed Conflict and Guatemalan social organizations expressed their rejection of President Giammattei’s decision to close the Secretary of Peace (SEPAZ), Secretary of Agrarian Affairs (SAA) and the Presidential Coordinating Commission of the Executive Politic in Human Rights Matters (COPREDEH).
These institutions were created to comply with the Peace Accords and Guatemala’s international obligations to seek justice for all human rights violations committed during the Armed Conflict.
Here we share the statement of more than 70 organizations that reject the closure of this institutions and we echo the demand: No more attacks on the institutions of peace!
NATIONAL PLATFORM OF ORGANIZATIONS OF VICTIMS OF THE INTERNAL ARMED CONFLICT AND SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS
WE REJECT THE CLOSURE OF THE INSTITUTIONS OF PEACE AND HUMAN RIGHTS
Victims and survivors of the Internal Armed Conflict and social organizations, once again manifests our rejection of the arbitrary decision of the president Alejandro Giammattei to unilaterally close the Secretary of Peace (SEPAZ), the Secretary of Agrarian Affairs (SAA) and the Presidential Commission for Human Rights (COPREDEH).
These institutions were created to fulfill the Peace Accords and human rights international obligations. The president of the Republic does not have the authority to break the commitments assumed by the State in the Peace Accords, in particular the obligation to guarantee a just and integral reparation to the victims.
The Commission for Peace and Human Rights (COPADEH) is a farce and is unconstitutional. The Government Agreement 100-2020, from July 30th of this year, does not specifically assume the functions of the SEPAZ, the SAA and the COPREDEH, nor does it have a budget allocation in the Project of the General State Budget for 2021. Therefore, it is evident the intention to abandon the Peace Accords, to negate the responsibility of the State in the grave violations to human rights in the past, to ignore the rights of the victims to reparation, and to weaken the institutional mechanism for the defense and the promotion of human rights.
The decision to close the three institutions of peace and human rights reveals the antidemocratic politics of the current government and their objective to revert back the advances achieved after the signing of the Peace Accords. The victims of the Internal Armed conflict and social organizations won’t allow the Government to ignore the historic debt to the State in the construction of the peace and the respect of the human rights of all guatemalans.
Therefore, WE DEMAND:
1. To the Constitutional Court of Guatemala, that in the last years has proven to be the only guarantor of the rule of law: RESOLVE the injunctions and the unconstitutionalities presented, and that suspends immediately the closure of the SEPAZ, the SAA and the COPREDEH.
2. To the Central Government: RESPECT the commitments of the State of Guatemala to peace and human rights, and cease your authoritative and antidemocratic actions.
3. To the Congress of the Republic: FULFILL your oversight function and do not remain passive in the face of arbitrary decisions of the president, so that the central Government respects the State’s commitments to peace and human rights.
To the international community, that for many years has accompanied the process for peace in Guatemala, we ask you to intervene with the Government of the Republic so that they do not put peace at risk or abandon their obligations to reparate the victims of the Internal Armed Conflict and to guarantee the human rights of the guatemalan population.
Guatemala City, October 5, 2020
Read the statement in Spanish here