Helen Mack. Credit: Right Livelihood Foundation

Fundación Myrna Mack brings the situation of human rights in Guatemala to the Human Rights Council in Geneva

News 14.09.2018

Speaking on behalf of Fundación Myrna Mack and Helen Mack Chang, the Right Livelihood Award Foundation delivered an oral statement today at the 39th Session of the Human Rights Council.

The statement was brought to the Council on the occasion of the presentation of the report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, Mr Fabian Salvioli. The Special Rapporteur works independently to update and guide the United Nations Human Rights Council on approaches to transitional justice which are compliant with human rights.

In his report to the Council, the Special Rapporteur highlighted that “[I]n situations of post-conflict transitional justice, it will be essential to address, through an array of public policy measures, the structural causes that gave rise to or allowed the conflict.”

Meanwhile, impunity arises from “the failure of States to provide victims with effective remedies and reparation, to ensure the right to know the truth about violations endured, and to adopt measures to prevent the recurrence of violations.”

In response to the report, Helen Mack’s statement pointed out that:

“Despite having signed the Peace Agreement over 20 years ago, after 36 years of internal conflict, crimes of the past continue to affect the families of the victims and society as a whole in Guatemala. The judicial processes involving military personnel accused of grave human rights violations have become spaces to validate their actions and to disqualify the search for justice. Human rights workers are constantly attacked, stigmatized and assaulted.”

Joining Fundación Myrna Mack, the Right Livelihood Award Foundation also expressed its concerns about the recent developments taking place in the country with regards to the International Commission against Impunity (CICIG), who together with the Public Prosecutor’s Office, has brought to light numerous cases of human rights violations and corruption.

“The discontinuation of the International Commission by President Jimmy Morales and the reinforcement of the military power in a civil government are troubling developments which set a dangerous precedent against the United Nations system in the region and beyond.”

In 1992, Helen Mack Chang received the Right Livelihood Award “for her personal courage and persistence in seeking justice and an end to the impunity of political murderers”. Mack’s extraordinary courage in the fight against impunity has brought her wide renown. She has been supported by a wide spectrum of the Guatemalan society, thousands of which follow her footsteps in the search for justice. After receiving the Right Livelihood Award, she founded the Myrna Mack Foundation to pursue research and training to defeat impunity and defend human rights. The Foundation provides training programmes for judges, lawyers, academics and community leaders.

Read the full Oral Statement in English and Spanish.

Learn more about the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence.

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