Stories of abuse and violations but also of perseverance and optimism: UN Human Rights Chief in Guatemala

“Guatemala must decide whether it wants to break with the past and transform itself into a modern State firmly based upon democracy, human rights and the rule of law,” said UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay “or if it wants more of the same old broken system which has only benefitted a few.”

During a press conference, Pillay spoke about the human rights situation in the country, with a focus on impunity, insecurity and violence, indigenous peoples’ rights, the right to consultation and the role of human rights defenders. She welcomed the fact that the new Government stated its willingness to address all these human rights issues and concerns.

Wrapping up her five-day visit to Guatemala, Pillay said that critical situation that Guatemala faces today stems from the fact that the 1996 Peace Accords “have not been complied with and the structural problems remain unresolved.” The Peace Accords contain the agenda the country needs to follow “to achieve lasting peace, development and reconciliation”.

 “During my time here,” she added “I have talked with many people and listened to their stories: stories of abuse and violations but also of perseverance and optimism, of hopes and dreams.”

Pillay visited Guatemala from 11 to 15 March 2012. During her visit, she met with Government officials, human rights defenders, representatives of indigenous and civil society organizations, members of the international community and the United Nations System. 

For a photo gallery of the visit, please visit our Facebook page.

16 March 2012


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