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Cable 800: 2005 US Embassy Report on Human Rights Programs in Guatemala

Cable 800: 2005 US Embassy Report on Human Rights Programs in Guatemala

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Published by Andres
This is a 2005 US embassy report outlining US programs and expenditures intended to support human rights in Guatemala.
This is a 2005 US embassy report outlining US programs and expenditures intended to support human rights in Guatemala.

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Published by: Andres on Dec 10, 2011
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Wikileaks Note: The full text of this cable is notavailable.
¶1. Guatemala held open and transparent electionsin November and December of 2003. There have beenmajor advances in human rights since the end of thecivil conflict and signing of the Peace Accords in1996, and the Government generally respects therights of its citizens. Impunity for offenses ofcriminal violence was pervasive; there was progressinvestigating official corruption; efforts toreform the judiciary continued. State institutionscharged with enforcing the rule of law remain weak.Police brutality and prison conditions areconcerns. Arbitrary arrest and lengthy pretrialdetentions were problems. Intimidation andcorruption of judges and other law enforcementofficials were widespread. Threats against non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and human rightsworkers by unidentified persons remainedapproximately the same as the previous year.¶2. The U.S. human rights and democracy strategyaims to encourage and support the Government'sefforts to strengthen state institutions, improverule of law and transparency in government, andsupport key human rights initiatives.¶3. U.S. officials raised human rights concerns
during meetings with President Oscar Berger, VicePresident Eduardo Stein, members of Congress andother high-level officials. The Embassy expressedinterest in key cases to authorities investigatinghuman rights abuses during the year. Authoritieswere generally cooperative and in several casesshifted resources to investigate cases ofparticular concern. The Ambassador frequently metwith human rights leaders and publicly expressedU.S. support for their work by hosting a receptionin honor of the Guatemalan human rights community.The Ambassador has advocated for numerous humanrights initiatives with the Guatemalan Government,including the establishment of a local UN Office ofthe High Commissioner for Human Rights; the UNCommission to Investigate Clandestine Groups(CICIACS) proposed by civil society; strongerlegislation for prosecution of traffickers inpersons; and improved labor legislation. TheEmbassy has urged the Government to investigatethreats against human rights defenders,journalists, and justice workers, and to provideprotection to the victims when warranted andfeasible. Through the International VisitorProgram, the Embassy has sponsored trips focused onhuman rights and free press for civil societyleaders, giving them the opportunity to interactwith parallel organizations in the U.S. and inter-change experiences.¶4. After three and a half years, the USAID HumanRights program ($4.2 million over three years) wascompleted in September 2004. Through this project,the United States has supported grassroots humanrights promotion, including training local humanrights promoters, media campaigns; targeted support
for the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman(limited training and equipment); and supported theHuman Rights Movement, a coalition of human rightsNGOs. The program has improved awareness and demandfor training and knowledge about human rights lawand treaties, especially regarding the indigenous,women, and children. Grantees disseminatedinformation about the civil conflict to over 44,000persons. The program and its counterpartsinfluenced the creation of a National ReparationsProgram and Commission. Rosalina Tuyuc, oneprogram counterpart, was chosen by the President tolead the Commission and several others are members.5. A key Movement leader, Frank LaRue, wasappointed by President Berger to direct thePresidential Human Rights Commission in January2004. It is encouraging that since 1996 civilsociety has blossomed in Guatemala and is now amajor contributor to the new Government's humanrights policies.¶6. Since 1999, the United States has provided$5.3 million to fund the exhumation of mass gravesfrom the internal conflict, providing closure forfamilies and religious burials for thousands ofvictims. The project offers mental health servicesin connection with the exhumations.¶7. The United States also funded negotiationsbetween civil society and the Government to createa National Reparations Plan, which was establishedto compensate victims of the civil conflict. InJanuary 2005, the United States announced that it

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