Torture in  [Guatemala]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Guatemala]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Guatemala]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Guatemala]  [other countries]
 

Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century                                                          gvnet.com/torture/Guatemala.htm

Republic of Guatemala

Guatemala is the most populous of the Central American countries with a GDP per capita roughly one-half that of Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. The agricultural sector accounts for about one-tenth of GDP, two-fifths of exports, and half of the labor force. Coffee, sugar, and bananas are the main products, with sugar exports benefiting from increased global demand for ethanol.

The distribution of income remains highly unequal with more than half of the population below the national poverty line. Other ongoing challenges include increasing government revenues, negotiating further assistance from international donors, curtailing drug trafficking and rampant crime, and narrowing the trade deficit.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Description: Description: Guatemala

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Guatemala.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.

*** ARCHIVES ***

Human Rights Watch World Report 2015 - Events of 2014

Human Rights Watch, 29 January 2015

www.hrw.org/world-report/2015/... or download PDF at  www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/wr2015_web.pdf

[accessed 18 March 2015]

GUATEMALA

ATTACKS ON HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS, JOURNALISTS, AND TRADE UNIONISTS - Attacks and threats against human rights defenders are common, significantly hampering human rights work in the country. Acts of violence and intimidation against trade unionists endanger freedom of assembly and association and the right to organize and bargain collectively. Fifty-three trade unionists were killed between 2007 and 2013, according to the International Trade Union Conference.  Journalists, especially those covering corruption and drug trafficking, also face threats, attacks, and legal intimidation.

Does Torture Work? Evidence from Guatemala

Central American Politics, 14 April 2014

centralamericanpolitics.blogspot.com/2014/04/does-torture-work-evidence-from.html

[accessed 20 April 2014]

In a new article at the Journal of Peace Research, I bring to bear micro-level data from Guatemala to generate a systematic evaluation of how torture affects violence within the context of an organized insurgency. This is a case in which highly skilled military personnel tortured with near impunity. Among other tactics, agents of the Guatemalan military forced the victims to stand hooded for hours or days, forced them to eat excrement, forced them to stay awake for days at a time, refused to give them food or water, subjected them to electric shocks, stripped them naked, burned them with cigarettes, suspended them from chains, sexually abused them, submerged them in water, cut them and broke their fingers.

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

Organisation Mondiale Contre la Torture (World Organization Against Torture) OMCT, 5 May 2006

www.omct.org/urgent-campaigns/urgent-interventions/guatemala/2006/05/d18006/

[accessed 22 Jan 2014]

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

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.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture

U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  -- Doc. CAT/C/GTM/CO/4 (2006)

www1.umn.edu/humanrts/cat/observations/guatemala2006.html

[accessed 27 February 2013]

C.  Subjects of concern and recommendations

10. The Committee reiterates its concern, as already expressed in its consideration of preceding reports, that the State party has still not brought the definition of the offence of torture contained in the Criminal Code fully into line with the Convention (arts. 1 and 4).

The State party should amend, as a matter of priority, the relevant provisions of the Criminal Code, particularly articles 201 bis and 425, in order to legally define torture in accordance with article 1 of the Convention, and criminalize it in accordance with article 4, paragraph 2, of the Convention.

11. The Committee also reiterates its concern about the existence of laws and practices which allow the army to be involved in matters that fall within the competence of the police, such as the prevention and repression of ordinary crime.  Moreover, it takes note that the State party has assigned 3,000 military personnel to support the fight against ordinary crime, instead of strengthening the police force (art. 2).

The State party should adopt effective measures to strengthen the National Civil Police and should repeal all laws which allow the army to be involved in activities of law enforcement or the prevention of ordinary crime, which should be carried out exclusively by the National Civil Police.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61729.htm

[accessed 29 January 2013]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – Although the law prohibits such practices, during the year there were credible reports of torture, abuse, and other mistreatment by members of the PNC. Complaints typically related to the use of excessive force during police operations and arbitrary detention of suspected gang members and others targeted during extortion schemes.

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 3   Civil Liberties: 4   Status: Partly Free

2009 Edition

www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2009/guatemala

[accessed 29 January 2013]

Guatemala continues to be one of the most violent countries in Latin America, and murder rates are highest in areas associated with drug trafficking and gang activity. In 2008, Guatemala experienced its most violent year in recent history, with 6,292 homicide victims, 11 percent of whom were women. Violence related to drug trafficking and drug cartels has spilled over the northern border into Guatemala from Mexico, and fighting between drug gangs has become more common in Guatemala as traffickers battle over territory. At least three major clashes left dozens of civilians dead in 2008, including a drug gang shootout in March in the department of Zacapa which left 11 people dead; a dispute over a cocaine shipment in Zacapa in November which resulted in 16 victims being incinerated in a bus; and a violent clash between Mexican and Guatemalan drug gangs along the border in the department of Huehuetenango where at least 17 people were reported dead. Meanwhile, the continued practice of lynching, mutilation, torture, and political assassinations—carried out by plainclothes security forces, angered mobs, gangs, and other groups—has shocked the country. The rise in violence has been exacerbated by the proliferation of arms, continued economic ills, and weak criminal justice institutions. It is estimated that only 7 percent of murder cases result in a conviction.

Universal Periodic Review of Guatemala - Human Rights Watch's Submission to the Human Rights Council

Human Rights Watch, May 5, 2008

www.hrw.org/news/2008/05/04/universal-periodic-review-guatemala

[accessed 29 January 2013]

The country continues to face high levels of violence associated with both electoral politics and common crime. Guatemala’s weak and corrupt law enforcement institutions have proven incapable of containing the powerful organized crime groups that, among other things, are believed responsible for continuing attacks on human rights defenders.

Guatemala continues to be one of the most violent countries in Latin America, and murder rates are highest in areas associated with drug trafficking and gang activity. In 2008, Guatemala experienced its most violent year in recent history, with 6,292 homicide victims, 11 percent of whom were women. Violence related to drug trafficking and drug cartels has spilled over the northern border into Guatemala from Mexico, and fighting between drug gangs has become more common in Guatemala as traffickers battle over territory. At least three major clashes left dozens of civilians dead in 2008, including a drug gang shootout in March in the department of Zacapa which left 11 people dead; a dispute over a cocaine shipment in Zacapa in November which resulted in 16 victims being incinerated in a bus; and a violent clash between Mexican and Guatemalan drug gangs along the border in the department of Huehuetenango where at least 17 people were reported dead. Meanwhile, the continued practice of lynching, mutilation, torture, and political assassinations—carried out by plainclothes security forces, angered mobs, gangs, and other groups—has shocked the country. The rise in violence has been exacerbated by the proliferation of arms, continued economic ills, and weak criminal justice institutions. It is estimated that only 7 percent of murder cases result in a conviction.

Police Violence Against Street Children

Human Rights Watch: Easy Targets - Violence Against Children Worldwide, September 2001

www.hrw.org/legacy/reports/2001/children/5.htm

[accessed 19 May 2011]

They hit with their rifles, or with sticks, on our backs and stomachs.  And sometimes they just punch us in the stomach with their hands.  They also take our paint thinner and pour it over our heads.  They’ve done that to me five times.  It’s awful, it hurts really bad.  It gets in your eyes and burns.

Thousands of children living in Guatemala’s streets have faced routine beatings, thefts and sexual assaults at the hands of the National Police and private security guards. During a 1996 Human Rights Watch investigation, nearly every child we spoke with told us of habitual assaults and thefts by the police. These assaults occurred on busy city streets in broad daylight, on quiet streets in the middle of the night, in alleys and deserted areas, and in police stations. Often, they were witnessed by passersby or other police officers.

A youth who spent nine years on the street told us:  The police bother us every single day. They hit us and steal our money, our shoes, our jackets. If you don’t give them what they want, they’ll beat you up or arrest you . . . .We can’t say anything, or they’ll hit us harder.

Girls on the street are additionally vulnerable to sexual attacks. Susana F., a sixteen-year-old, reported that she was raped by two police officers while a third kept watch. The officers threatened to put her in prison for having marijuana if she made any noise.  “I’m sure this has happened to many other girls. But usually they won’t say anything about it. . . .Ugly things happen on the street.”

Guatemalan street children have also been killed in extrajudicial executions. In September 1996, sixteen-year-old Ronald Raúl Ramos was shot and killed by a drunken Treasury Police officer. More than ten other street children in Guatemala were murdered that year under suspicious circumstances, yet by April of the following year, all of the perpetrators were still at large.

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES. 

Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Guatemala ", http://gvnet.com/torture/Guatemala.htm, [accessed <date>]

 

 

Torture in  [Guatemala]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Guatemala]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Guatemala]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Guatemala]  [other countries]