Accord for a Firm and Lasting Peace

  • 69%
  • Implementation Score 
    after 10 years
Provisions in this Accord
Cease Fire

Agreement on the Definitive Ceasefire (Oslo, 4 December 1996)

A. Ceasefire

Concept

1. Ceasefire means the cessation of all insurgent action by URNG units and the cessation of all counter-insurgent action by the Guatemalan armed forces.

Entry into force

Implementation History
1997

Full Implementation

The parties maintained an informal ceasefire during the peace process, beginning on 19 March 1996.1 The informal ceasefire was upheld. The Agreement on the Definitive Ceasefire (Oslo, 4 December 1996) stipulated that the formal ceasefire would begin when the UN military observer group was ready to take on its duties. It did so on 3 March 1997, and it verified that the parties fully implemented the Agreement on the Definitive Ceasefire on 14 May.2

  • 1. “Report of the Secretary-General on the Group of Military Observers Attached to MINUGUA,” United Nations Security Council (S/1997/432), June 4, 1997.
  • 2. Ibid.
1998

Full Implementation

Commitment to the formal ceasefire was strong throughout the implementation period.

1999

Full Implementation

Commitment to the formal ceasefire was strong throughout the implementation period.

2000

Full Implementation

Commitment to the formal ceasefire was strong throughout the implementation period.

2001

Full Implementation

Commitment to the formal ceasefire was strong throughout the implementation period.

2002

Full Implementation

Commitment to the formal ceasefire was strong throughout the implementation period.

2003

Full Implementation

Commitment to the formal ceasefire was strong throughout the implementation period.

2004

Full Implementation

Commitment to the formal ceasefire was strong throughout the implementation period.

2005

Full Implementation

Commitment to the formal ceasefire was strong throughout the implementation period.

2006

Full Implementation

Commitment to the formal ceasefire was strong throughout the implementation period.

Executive Branch Reform

Agreement on Constitutional Reforms and the Electoral Regime (Stockholm, 7 December 1996)

Functions of the President of the Republic

23. Sponsor in the Congress of the Republic an amendment to article 183 of the Constitution which would include the following:

"Delete paragraph (r) of article 183 and amend the wording of paragraph (t) to read: 'To grant special pensions'".

Implementation History
1997

Intermediate Implementation

The Agreement on the Implementation, Compliance and Verification Timetable for the Peace Agreements stipulated that the constitutional reforms related to the executive branch should be presented to the Congress of the Republic for ratification by 15 April. The Follow-up Commission rescheduled the deadline for 15 May. The Guatemalan government presented the draft constitutional amendments to the Congress on 15 May, thus partially fulfilling the terms of the agreement.1

  • 1. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/51/936), June 30, 1997.
1998

Intermediate Implementation

All 50 constitutional amendments that were submitted by the Government were approved by the Congress in October 1998. The constitution mandated that following this event, they should be submitted to the people for a referendum, scheduled for May 1999.2

  • 2. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/54/526), November 11, 1999.
1999

Intermediate Implementation

The referendum for the full package of constitutional amendments occurred on 16 May 1999. With low turnout of under 1 million voters, they denied the proposed amendments related to executive branch reform, along with all other proposed amendments. While this vote prevented the complete fulfillment of many components of the peace agreements, the parties to the agreements showed good faith by drafting, submitting and approving the reforms as called for by the accord. Rights and protections for indigenous peoples were featured prominently in the referendum, suggesting that the country was far from reconciled after the end of the civil war.3 In the referendum, 392,223 voted against the reforms related to executive branch and 294,849 voted in favor of the reforms.4

  • 3. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/54/526), November 11, 1999.
  • 4. "Guatemala: Referendum, 1999," Georgetown University & Organization of American StatesPolitical Database of the Americas (2001), accessed May 23, 2012, http://pdba.georgetown.edu/Elecdata/Guate/ref99.html.
2000

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed.

2001

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed.

2002

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed.

2003

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed.

2004

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed.

2005

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed.

2006

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed.

Legislative Branch Reform

Agreement on Constitutional Reforms of the Electoral Regime (Stockholm, 7 December 1996)

B. Constitutional reforms included in the Agreement on the Strengthening of Civilian Power and on the Role of the Armed Forces in a Democratic Society

Congress of the Republic

Implementation History
1997

Intermediate Implementation

The Agreement on the Implementation, Compliance and Verification Timetable for the Peace Agreements stipulated that the constitutional reforms related to the makeup of the Congress of the Republic should be presented to the Congress of the Republic for ratification, which took place on 15 May 1997. The Guatemalan government presented the draft constitutional amendments to the Congress on 15 May, thus meeting his requirement.1 

MINUGUA established the Program of Institutional Assistance and Legal Reform (PROLEY), which provided direct technical and political support for members of Congress, political parties, the Follow-Up Commission and other bodies.2

  • 1. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/51/936), June 30, 1997.
  • 2. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/59/746), March 18, 2005.
1998

Intermediate Implementation

All 50 constitutional amendments submitted by the Government were approved by the Congress in October 1998. The constitution mandated that they be submitted to the people for a referendum, scheduled for May 1999.3

  • 3. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/54/526), November 11, 1999.
1999

Intermediate Implementation

The referendum for the full package of constitutional amendments occurred on 16 May 1999. With low turnout, voters denied the proposed amendments related to the legislative branch, along with all other proposed amendments.4 

In the referendum, 392,223 voted against the reforms related to the legislative branch and 284,423 voted in favor of the reform.5

2000

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed.

2001

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed.

2002

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed.

2003

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed.

2004

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed.

2005

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed.

2006

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed.

Constitutional Reform

Agreement on Constitutional Reforms and the Electoral Regime (Stockholm, 7 December 1996)

I. Constitutional Reforms

Implementation History
1997

Minimum Implementation

The Agreement on the Implementation, Compliance and Verification Timetable for the Peace Agreements stipulated that proposed constitutional reforms should be presented to the Congress of the Republic for ratification by 15 April, the Follow-up Commission rescheduled the deadline for 15 May. The Guatemalan government presented the draft constitutional amendments to the Congress on 15 May, fulfilling the terms of the agreements.1

  • 1. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/51/936), June 30, 1997.
1998

Minimum Implementation

All 50 constitutional amendments submitted by the Government were approved by the Congress in October 1998. The constitution mandated that they then be submitted to the people for a referendum, scheduled for May 1999.2

  • 2. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/54/526), November 11, 1999.
1999

Minimum Implementation

The referendum for the full package of constitutional amendments occurred on 16 May 1999. Voters denied all of the proposed amendments.3

2000

Minimum Implementation

No further developments observed.

2001

Minimum Implementation

No further developments observed.

2002

Minimum Implementation

No further developments observed.

2003

Minimum Implementation

No further developments observed.

2004

Minimum Implementation

No further developments observed.

2005

Minimum Implementation

No further developments observed.

2006

Minimum Implementation

No further developments observed.

Inter-ethnic/State Relations

Agreement on Identity and Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Mexico city, 19 September 1996)

IV Civil, political, social and economic rights

D. Participation at all levels

Implementation History
1997

Intermediate Implementation

The Agreement on the Implementation, Compliance and Verification Timetable for the Peace Agreements stipulated that proposed constitutional reforms should be presented to the Congress of the Republic for ratification by 15 April, the Follow-up Commission rescheduled the deadline for 15 May. The Guatemalan government presented the draft constitutional amendments to the Congress on 15 May, fulfilling the terms of the agreements.1

  • 1. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/51/936), June 30, 1997.
1998

Intermediate Implementation

All 50 constitutional amendments including legal changes related to increasing the representation of the indigenous population submitted by the Government were approved by the Congress in October 1998. The constitution mandated that they then be submitted to the people for a referendum, scheduled for May 1999.2 

  • 2. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/54/526), November 11, 1999.
1999

Intermediate Implementation

The referendum included numerous provisions and legal changes related to increasing the representation of the indigenous population. The referendum for the full package of constitutional amendments occurred on 16 May 1999. Voters denied the proposed amendments related to the redefinition of the nation and the formal recognition of indigenous peoples and their rights, along with all other proposed amendments.

As provisions for improved rights and protections for indigenous peoples were featured very prominently in the referendum, this outcome indicated that the country was far from reconciled after the formal end of the civil war.3 In the referendum, 366,591 voted against the reforms related to national and indigenous people and 327,854 voted in favor of the reform.4

2000

Intermediate Implementation

The Executive Branch enacts reform measures designed to foster local participation in the selection of leaders, although the gubernatorial candidates put forward by non-governmental members of development councils were largely sidelined. The network of local development councils were deemed ineffective at engendering broad social participation in municipal and community projects that were designed to improve inter-ethnic and state relations.5

  • 5. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/175), July 26, 2000.
2001

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2002

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2003

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2004

Intermediate Implementation

The Government made significant improvements in the decentralization of civil administration. With the passage of three new laws, previously excluded segments of the population were drawn into local decision-making structures and the decisions of Departmental Development Councils were respected by the Government.6

  • 6. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/59/307), August 30, 2004.
2005

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed.

2006

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed.

Electoral/Political Party Reform

Agreement on Constitutional Reforms and Electoral Regime (Stockholm, 7 December 1996)

II. Electoral Regime

Whereas:

Elections are the essential instrument for the transition which Guatemala is currently making towards a functional, participatory democracy,

Implementation History
1997

Intermediate Implementation

The accord calls for certain electoral reforms to be made, but also mentions that a commission to be established to "consider" such improvements as:

(a) Documentation;
(b) Electoral rolls;
(c) Voting;
(d) Transparency and publicity;
(e) Information campaign;
(f) Institution-building.

The extent to which each of these items were considered is difficult to asses. The accord definitively stipulates that the URNG be allowed to become a legal political party. The URNG began the process of establishing itself as a legal political party on 18 June 1997, and its members reached an agreement on its new structure on 30 August 1997.1

  • 1. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/52/757), February 4, 1998.
1998

Intermediate Implementation

No development observed this year.

1999

Intermediate Implementation

During its monitoring of the constitutional reform referendum held on 16 May and general elections 7 November, MINUGUA received many complaints of threats against candidates, party members, and officials in the Supreme Electoral Tribunal.2

Several shortcomings related to voter registration and political party registration were noted regarding the elections. The results of both elections, however, were generally respected. The general elections were the first in which the URNG participated as a legitimate political party and the elections also saw increased participation of women and indigenous peoples.3

  • 2. “Tenth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/54/688), December 21, 1999.
  • 3. “Eleventh Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/174), July 26, 2000.
2000

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed.

2001

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed.

2002

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed.

2003

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed.

2004

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed.

2005

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed.

2006

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed.

Decentralization/Federalism

Agreement on identity and rights of indigenous peoples (Mexico City, 31 March 1995)

IV. Civil, Political, Social and Economic Rights

A. Constitutional framework

The Government of Guatemala undertakes to promote a reform of the
Constitution in order to define and characterize the Guatemalan nation as being of national unity, multi-ethnic, multicultural and multilingual.

Implementation History
1997

No Implementation

No developments observed this year.

1998

Minimum Implementation

The process of decentralization of some government services increased, especially in the health and education sectors.1

  • 1. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/53/421), September 28, 1998.
1999

Intermediate Implementation

The referendum for the full package of constitutional amendments occurred on 16 May 1999. Voters denied the proposed amendments related to autonomous governance in indigenous regions, along with all other proposed amendments.2

  • 2. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/54/526), November 11, 1999.
2000

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2001

Intermediate Implementation

The President of the Republic established the Presidential Commissioner for the Modernization and Decentralization of the State, which took over all decentralization efforts. Prior efforts were poorly coordinated and unevenly enacted.3

  • 3. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/973), June 1, 2001.
2002

Intermediate Implementation

Congress passed the General Decentralization Act with Legislative Decree No. 14-2002.4

  • 4. “Information Received from Governments: Guatemala,” Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, United Nations Economic and Social Council (E/C.19/2010/12/Add.8), March 3, 2010.
2003

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed. 

2004

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed. 

2005

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed. 

2006

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed. 

Civil Administration Reform

Agreement on the Strengthening of Civilian Power and the Role of the Armed Forces in Democratic Society (Mexico City, 19 September 1996)

F. Professionalization of civil servants

55. Article 136 of the Constitution stipulates that the right of Guatemalan citizens to seek public office must be guaranteed. However, only individuals with ability, honesty and integrity are eligible to do so.

Implementation History
1997

Minimum Implementation

The accord provided for the professionalization of civil servants in an attempt to modernize the government service, establish a career civil service, promote integrity and accountability, strengthen and modernize the comptroller’s office and sanctioning acts of corruption and the misappropriation of public funds. Nevertheless, no serious steps were taken to reform civil administration in 1997. Proposals for a new civil service act were past due without the Follow-up Commission's approval for rescheduling.1 Nevertheless, the government had secured the Private Participation in Infrastructure Technical Assistance Loan from the World Bank to prepare selected infrastructure sectors - ports, power, telecommunications, highways, and the postal service - for concession and privatization, within a sound legal and regulatory framework.2 The implementation of these programs was expected to modernize and improve the efficiency of government services. The project was expected to complete by 2000. 

  • 1. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/52/757), February 4, 1998.
  • 2. "Implementation Completion and Results Report (ICR)," World Bank Vol.1 of 1 (Report No: 25429), June 19, 2003.
1998

Minimum Implementation

The State continued modernizing, improving the implementation of social policy, and working to weed out corruption and inconsistencies.3 According to a report, the government was focusing on decentralizing government services, especially in the education and health sectors, and institutional restructuring of the ministries. It was reported that the Integrated Financial Administration and Monitoring System was in place, which was said to implement government’s social policy as well as strengthening of anti-corruption mechanisms. The judiciary was mostly ineffective and corrupt. Nevertheless, there were efforts to overhaul the judiciary system by enacting an act to establish the Defender’s office in criminal matters. The pace of reform, however, was very slow.4 The Commission on the Strengthening of the Justice System, submitted its report. 

  • 3. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/53/421), September 28, 1998.
  • 4. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/52/757), February 4, 1998.
1999

Minimum Implementation

Following the report from the Commission on the Strengthening of the Justice System, an ad hoc commission to implement the recommendation in the report, was established. The judiciary continued to implement its modernization plan but it was very slow.5 Other reforms initiatives also continued at a slower pace. 

  • 5. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/54/526), November 11, 1999.
2000

Intermediate Implementation

The Private Participation in Infrastructure Technical Assistance program, carried out by the World Bank, was completed and was said to improve efficiency and modernization in public service.

The network of local development councils was not living up to its intended purpose of engendering broad social participation in municipal and community projects. Despite reform measures enacted by the Executive Branch designed to foster local participation in the selection of leaders, gubernatorial candidates put forward by non-governmental members of development councils were largely sidelined.6

  • 6. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/175), July 26, 2000.
2001

Intermediate Implementation

The President of the Republic established the Presidential Commissioner for the Modernization and Decentralization of the State, which took over all decentralization efforts. Prior efforts were poorly coordinated and unevenly enacted.7

  • 7. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/973), June 1, 2001.
2002

Intermediate Implementation

The Government made significant improvements in the decentralization of civil administration. With the passage of three new laws, previously excluded segments of the population were drawn into local decision-making structures and the decisions of Departmental Development Councils were respected by the Government.8

  • 8. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/59/307), August 30, 2004.
2003

Intermediate Implementation

A 2003 external review of several civil service systems is generally not positive. It reported that the “recruitment conditions do not tally with the real capabilities of the candidates, the necessary guarantee mechanisms and procedures needed to avoid arbitrariness in the admission process have not been established, the selection instruments have not been adequately designed, and promotion practices do not match with previously systematized criteria."9

2004

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed.

2005

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed.

2006

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed.

Truth or Reconciliation Mechanism

Agreement on the Establishment of the Commission to Clarify Past Human Rights Violations and Acts of Violence that Have Caused the Guatemalan Population to Suffer (Oslo, 23 June 1994)

Whereas the present-day history of our country is marked by grave acts of violence, disregard for the fundamental rights of the individual and suffering of the population connected with the armed conflict;

Implementation History
1997

Intermediate Implementation

The Commission for Historical Clarification (CEH) formed in February and began work in April. German Jurist Christian Tomuschat led the commission, appointing two Guatemalans to fill the remaining leadership positions: Otilia Lux de Coti and Alfredo Balsells Tojo. The international community was slower than planned in supplying financial support, so the CEH did not start taking testimonies until 1 September.1

1998

Intermediate Implementation

The CEH completed its interviews in April.2 The CEH convened 400 persons from 139 civil society organizations for the National Forum on Recommendations on 27 May.3

On April 26, Roman Catholic Bishop Juan Jose Gerardi was murdered two days after releasing a parallel report of atrocities committed during the civil war.4

  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. “Guatemala: Memory of Silence," Guatemalan Commission for Historical Clarification, 1999, accessed April 20, 2012, http://shr.aaas.org/guatemala/ceh/report/english/toc.html.
  • 4. Greg Brosnan, “4 Men Convicted in Murder of Guatemalan Bishop,” The Washington Post (Reprinted from Reuters), June 9, 2001, A14.
1999

Full Implementation

The CEH released its final report, “Memory of Silence,” on 25 February 1999. It documented human rights violations against 42,275 victims, of which 23,671 were victims of arbitrary execution and 6,159 of forced disappearance. Mass killings were common, with 626 cases verified by the CEH. Mayans made up the vast majority (83%) of the victims, and the Guatemalan state, mainly through the Army, was responsible for nearly all (93%) of the violations. Most of the violations (91%) were committed between 1978 and 1984. The CEH described the Army's attacks against Mayans between 1981 and 1983 as “acts of genocide.” Insurgent groups also committed many grievous human rights violations, but they amounted to 3% of the total violations identified. The CEH made several recommendations, including: formal apologies from the State of Guatemala and the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity (URNG); monuments and a day of commemoration for victims; the creation of a National Reparation Program for victims of human rights violations; investigations into cases of forced disappearances; exhumation of the remains of those killed in massacres so they can be properly buried; education initiatives to foster a culture of peace; ratification of international human rights instruments; increased accountability structures within the Government; improvement the public's access to information; judicial reform, including respect for traditional forms of conflict resolution and customary law; re-emphasis on the military and police reforms and human rights protections stipulated in the agreements; and the creation of a Foundation for Peace and Harmony to oversee the implementation of the CEH recommendations.5

The CEH officially dissolved on 25 February with the presentation of the final report.6

2000

Full Implementation

Citing financial shortcomings, the Government made no immediate progress in implementing the recommendations of the CEH, not even the cost-free gestures of acknowledgment and apology for the sake of national reconciliation. In the meantime, the human rights situation in the country deteriorated.7

  • 7. Will Weissert, “Guatemala's Truth Commission Report Falls on Deaf Ears,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Reprinted from the Associated Press), February 20, 2000, A5.
2001

Full Implementation

A Guatemalan tribunal convicted three men linked to the Guatemalan military for the murder of Bishop Gerardi in 1998. A priest was also convicted as an accessory to the murder.8

  • 8. Greg Brosnan, “4 Men Convicted in Murder of Guatemalan Bishop,” The Washington Post (Reprinted from Reuters), June 9, 2001, A14.
2002

Full Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2003

Full Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2004

Full Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2005

Full Implementation

After preventing any actions to declassify information to investigate crimes committed by persons identified by the CEH for years, the Government adopted an order to improve (nominally) public access to information. The Attorney-General issued guidelines for investigations into past atrocities using forensic anthropologists, but the Government generally maintained a conspicuously silent position on the implementation of the CEH's recommendations.9

  • 9. “Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Situation of Human Rights in Guatemala,” United Nations Economic and Social Council (E/CN.4/2006/10/Add.1), February 1, 2006.
2006

Full Implementation

After a period without developments, in December 2009, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights condemned Guatemala for failing to seek justice in the 1982 massacre of more than 200 villagers.10 In March 2012, a Guatemalan court denied amnesty to former dictator Efrain Rios Montt who was facing genocide charges for abuses committing during 1982-1983.11   

  • 10. "Rights courts condemns Guatemala in 1982 massacre," Associated Press Online, December 22, 2009.
  • 11. "Guatemala judge denies ex-dictator's amnesty claim," Agence France Presse, March 2, 2012.
Judiciary Reform

Agreement on the Strengthening of Civilian Power and the Role of the Armed Forces in Democratic Society (Mexico City, 19 September 1996)

III. System of Justice

Implementation History
1997

Intermediate Implementation

The Agreement on the Implementation, Compliance and Verification Timetable for the Peace Agreements stipulated that the constitutional reforms related to the judiciary should be presented to the Congress of the Republic for ratification by 15 April, but the Follow-up Commission rescheduled the deadline for 15 May. The Guatemalan government presented the draft constitutional amendments to the Congress on 15 May, thus technically fulfilling the terms of the agreements.1

Governmental Agreement 221-97 established the Commission on the Strengthening of the Justice System on 7 March, and it commenced to promote consultation and debate about the reformation of the judiciary.2

  • 1. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/51/936), June 30, 1997.
  • 2. Ibid.
1998

Intermediate Implementation

All 50 constitutional amendments submitted by the Government were approved by the Congress in October 1998. The constitution mandated that they then be submitted to the people for a referendum, scheduled for May 1999.3

The Public Prosecutor's Office restructured to improve capacity and access to justice. A Coordinating Authority for the Modernization of the Justice Sector was created to bring together the Ministry of the Interior, the Public Prosecutor's Office and the judiciary to work for comprehensive reform.4

The judiciary began improving access to justice by expanding its geographic presence and increasing the number of linguistic interpreters.5

  • 3. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/54/526), November 11, 1999.
  • 4. “Eighth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/52/946), June 15, 1998.
  • 5. “Ninth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/53/853), March 10, 1999.
1999

Intermediate Implementation

The referendum for the full package of constitutional amendments occurred on 16 May 1999. With low turnout, voters denied the proposed amendments related to the judiciary, along with all other proposed amendments.6

Congress passed legislation to build the career judicial service on 27 October. Congress also developed consensus on the selection process for judges in the Supreme Court of Justice, and the new judges took office on 13 October. The first class (26 persons) of first instance and sentencing court judges graduated from the Judicial Training School in July. The Public Prosecutor's Office completed the first stage in the restructuring of its district offices in May.7

  • 6. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/54/526), November 11, 1999.
  • 7. “Tenth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/54/688), December 21, 1999.
2000

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2001

Intermediate Implementation

As of September 2001, the judicial system had largely failed to adapt to guarantee equal access and equal rights for indigenous persons.8

  • 8. “The Indigenous Peoples of Guatemala: Overcoming Discrimination in the Framework of the Peace Agreements, Verification Report," United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA), September 2001.
2002

Intermediate Implementation

The judicial system improved its capacity, spreading courts, judges and affiliated personnel across the country. This increased presence, however, did not result in actual improvements in the rule of law. On the contrary, crime and impunity were on the rise, with the increasing involvement of the police in the crimes and subsequent obstruction of justice. In the midst of these difficulties, Congress cut the budget for the justice system by 12%.9

  • 9. “Thirteenth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/57/336), August 22, 2002.
2003

Intermediate Implementation

The Public Prosecutor's Office was unable to investigate all the reports of human rights violations committed by the PNC. As of July, roughly 1,600 complaints were pending. Its personnel had grown modestly compared to the previous year, but it still lacked resources and only had offices in 10% of municipalities. Overall, the Office was no better equipped to combat corruption and human rights violations than it was in 1997.10

  • 10. “Fourteenth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/58/566), November 10, 2003.
2004

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2005

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2006

Intermediate Implementation

The Guatemala judiciary ten years after the accord is considered one of the most inefficient and corrupt institutions in Guatemala.11  

Military Reform

Agreement on the Strengthening of Civilian Power and the Role of the Armed Forces in Democratic Society (Mexico City, 19 September 1996)

IV. Executive Branch: C. Armed forces

Implementation History
1997

Intermediate Implementation

The “Xaman case” set a precedent for the civilian judiciary's jurisdiction over common crimes committed by military personnel. On 12 June 1996, Legislative Decree 14-96 codified this revision to military privilege.1

The Armed Forces performed an internal review of the Kaibil Special Operations and Training Center, where Guatemala's notorious commandos had been trained. Only minor changes were instituted.2

In accordance with the stipulation in the agreements to reduce military spending, the Government began cutting the budget of the Armed Forces. The Education and Doctrine Command was created to initiate reforms in military education and training.3

The Strategic Analysis Secretariat (SAE) was created as part of the intelligence services reforms stipulated in the Agreement on the Strengthening of Civilian Power and on the Role of the Armed Forces in a Democratic Society. The SAE was intended to be a civilian intelligence body in service of the President, but it was initially run by members of the Armed Forces, in violation of the agreements.4

The accord does not require a reduction in the armed force; however there is a, suggested size for the military. As of 1996, the military strength of Guatemala was 36,000 personnel, which was reduced to 30,000 personnel in 1997.5

  • 1. “Verification Report: Status of the Commitments of the Peace Agreements Relating to the Armed Forces,” United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA), May 2002.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Ibid.
  • 4. Ibid.; “Report of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA) for the Consultative Group Meeting for Guatemala,” United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA), January 18, 2002.
  • 5. D. Scott Bennett and Allan Stam, “EUGene: A Conceptual Manual,” International Interactions 26 (2000):179-204; see  http://eugenesoftware.org.
1998

Intermediate Implementation

Reductions in military spending continued and fell to percentages of GDP lower than required by the agreements.6

Even after the Follow-up Commission approved an extension to the first quarter of 1998, the Government failed to set up an Advisory Council on Security, draft legislation regulating the bearing of arms, or advance the Civil Service Act.7 As of 1998, the military strength of Guatemala was 30,000 personnel.8

  • 6. “Verification Report: Status of the Commitments of the Peace Agreements Relating to the Armed Forces.”
  • 7. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/53/421), September 28, 1998.
  • 8. D. Scott Bennett and Allan Stam, “EUGene: A Conceptual Manual.”
1999

Intermediate Implementation

On 30 August 1999, the budget of the armed forces reached the benchmark of a 33% reduction in military spending as a proportion of GDP. However, by the end of the year, the size of the military budget relative to GDP came out at 0.68%, which slightly exceeded the stipulated amount of 0.66% of GDP.9

The referendum for the full package of constitutional amendments occurred on 16 May 1999. With low turnout, voters denied the proposed amendments, which included military reforms under the heading of executive agency. While this vote prevented the complete fulfillment of many components of the peace agreements, the parties to the agreements for their part showed good faith by drafting, submitting and approving the reforms. Government and civil society leaders also began working on alternative paths to enact structural reforms.10

In October 1999, the President's office submitted a bill to reform the Arms and Munitions Act and implement the related stipulations in the Agreement on the Strengthening of Civilian Power and on the Role of the Armed Forces in a Democratic Society. No further progress was made on it, however.11

Ministry of Defense leaders worked on comprehensive reforms in the design of military education. At the end of 1999, the President of the Republic ceremoniously delivered to MINUGUA a copy of the new Handbook of Military Doctrine of the Armed Forces of Guatemala. MINUGUA and the Follow-up Commission convinced the government that the handbook needed to be treated as a draft proposal subject to scrutiny from verification bodies and civil society.12

As of 1999, the military strength of Guatemala was 30,000 personnel.13

  • 9. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/54/526), November 11, 1999; “Verification Report: Status of the Commitments of the Peace Agreements Relating to the Armed Forces.”
  • 10. Ibid.
  • 11. “Verification Report: Status of the Commitments of the Peace Agreements Relating to the Armed Forces.”
  • 12. Ibid.
  • 13. D. Scott Bennett and Allan Stam, “EUGene: A Conceptual Manual.”
2000

Intermediate Implementation

The Government began to make progress toward dissolving the Presidential General Staff (EMP), which was responsible for many human rights violations during the armed conflict. As an alternative, the Government created the Secretariat of Administrative Affairs and Security (SAAS).14

The posture of the Armed Forces toward civilian affairs was not conducive to the relationship envisioned by the agreements. The Guatemalan military still operated as a counter-insurgency force in many ways, and as such tended to treat the civilian population as potential enemies. Civilian affairs in the military spent their time tracking the political leanings of civilians and continued to deploy “psychological operations squadrons” and “ideological operators.” The Armed Forces also continued their involvement in matters of public safety, bolstered by the Support for Civil Security Forces Act passed by Congress. These trends defied the demilitarization of public security mandated in the peace agreements.15

The time line of the peace agreements originally stipulated the end of 2000 as the deadline for compliance with military reform components. Since the Government had fallen too far behind to meet this deadline, the Follow-up Commission rescheduled the final deadline for 2004. Among the delayed commitments were the creation of a new military doctrine, changes to the military education system and intelligence programs, and the termination of the EMP.16

While the 2000 budget was set to allocate the appropriate amount for military spending (0.66% of GDP), the Executive ended up transferring so much more money to the Ministry of Defense that actual expenditures reached 0.83%.17

As of 2000, the military strength of Guatemala was 31,000 personnel, which was an increase of 1,000 personnel from 1999.18

  • 14. “Verification Report: Status of the Commitments of the Peace Agreements Relating to the Armed Forces.”
  • 15. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/175), July 26, 2000.
  • 16. “Verification Report: Status of the Commitments of the Peace Agreements Relating to the Armed Forces.”
  • 17. Ibid.
  • 18. D. Scott Bennett and Allan Stam, “EUGene: A Conceptual Manual.”
2001

Intermediate Implementation

The Joint Group, composed of civil society and military leaders, proposed a draft Civic Service Act that would set the standards for a universal, human-rights-compliant, non-compulsive system of military and civil service in accordance with the peace agreements. The Follow-up Commission and Peace Secretary endorsed the draft and forwarded it to the President's office to submit to Congress. The Strategic Affairs Secretariat (SAE) prepared a draft Free Access to Information Act, which was approved by the Follow-up Commission and also submitted to Congress. The SAE also began working on a draft Supervision of State Intelligence Agencies act. A group of legislators with the Guatemalan Republican Front (FRG) presented a new draft to the Arms and Munitions Act, which was only reviewed and shelved.19

Following positive dialogues over the Handbook of Military Doctrine of the Armed Forces of Guatemala, Government Accord 456-2001 established a process of soliciting input from civil society on national defense policy. The Civilian Affairs Directorate of the General Staff also began reforming its Civilian Affairs Doctrine handbook, which was originally designed for a counter-insurgency strategy that manipulated the civilian population for military ends, and was far from consistent with international human rights law norms.20

While the 2001 budget, like the 2000 budget, was set to allocate appropriate amounts for military spending, financial transfers from the Executive to the Ministry of Defense increased military spending to 0.96% of GDP, a level that far exceed the amount permitted by the agreements. At the same time, the Government allocated insufficient amounts to the Priority Program for Peace, in violation of the National Budget Law and the peace agreements.21

MINUGUA confirmed reports that military personnel carried out two extrajudicial executions and colluded with illegal armed groups, which carried out many lynchings and other egregious human rights violations.22

  • 19. “Verification Report: Status of the Commitments of the Peace Agreements Relating to the Armed Forces.”
  • 20. Ibid.
  • 21. Ibid.
  • 22. “Twelfth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/56/273), August 8, 2001.
2002

Intermediate Implementation

The Ministry of Defense prepared a report to set the main themes for future reforms of the Military Code and military prison system. The Ministry also publicly committed to reducing military spending back down to the level stipulated in the peace agreements, but then military commanders began withholding spending reports, and refusing to divulge information even before Congress, on the grounds of national security. The lack of a clear defense policy also left matters of military arms and equipment procurement ambiguous.23

The Armed Forces made very little progress with regard to intelligence services reform throughout the peace agreement implementation process to date. The one significant improvement was the creation of the Strategic Analysis Secretariat (SAE) in 1997. Although it was heavily influenced by the Armed Forces at first, it later became a truly civilian entity. However, the SAE's work was hampered by the Government's failure to create the Department of Civilian Intelligence and Information Analysis (DICAI) and the unauthorized intelligence functions of the Armed Forces, both of which are violations of the agreements.24

The EMP was still functioning, and the SAAS did not have the capacity to handle all the security duties previously upheld by the EMP. The Armed Forces also shirked their commitments in the agreements by remaining steeped in internal affairs—training new recruits for the National Civilian Police (PNC) and conducting independent public security operations.25

Military personnel became more involved in matters of public security, in violation of the agreements.26 At the heart of all the military reforms was the objective of demilitarizing Guatemalan society and strengthening civilian rule over all government agencies. The Government fell well short of this aim.27

  • 23. “Verification Report: Status of the Commitments of the Peace Agreements Relating to the Armed Forces.”
  • 24. Ibid.
  • 25. Ibid.
  • 26. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/56/1003), July 10, 2002.
  • 27. “Thirteenth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/57/336), August 22, 2002.
2003

Intermediate Implementation

Congress passed the Civil Service Act, which provides for a civilian alternative to mandatory military service. The Government continued to use the Armed Forces for public security tasks. After consulting with civil society organizations, the Government created the Advisory Council on Security in February 2003. The Armed Forces made progress in shifting its deployment posture to match the external defense strategy mandated by the agreements and in demobilizing the EMP.28

  • 28. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/58/267), August 30, 2003.
2004

Intermediate Implementation

The Government decided to reduce the number of troops and officers in the Armed Forces from 27,000 to 15,500, to reduce the military budget to 0.33% of GDP, and to accelerate base closings consistent with a reorientation toward external defense only. The EMP was finally replaced by the SAAS and the Ministry of Defense publicly introduced a new military doctrine based on human rights. Civilian regulation of military and intelligence structures was yet insufficient, however.29 As of 2004, the military declined by 1,000 personnel to 30,000.30

  • 29. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/59/307), August 30, 2004.
  • 30. D. Scott Bennett and Allan Stam, “EUGene: A Conceptual Manual.”
2005

Intermediate Implementation

Satisfied with the progress on military reform, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced that the US would lift its ban on military aid to Guatemala.31 As of 2005, the military strength declined by another 1,000 personnel to 29,000.32

  • 31. Ginger Thompson, “U.S. To Lift Ban on Military Aid to Guatemala,” The New York Times, March 25, 2005, Section A, Pg. 6.
  • 32. D. Scott Bennett and Allan Stam, “EUGene: A Conceptual Manual.”
2006

Intermediate Implementation

The military personnel continued to decline in Guatemala. In 2006 the strength was 29,000 personnel which declined to 16,000 personnel in 2007.33

Police Reform

Agreement on the Strengthening of Civilian Power and the Role of the Armed Forces in Democratic Society (Mexico City, 19 September 1996)

IV. Executive Branch: B. Public security

National Civil Police

Implementation History
1997

Minimum Implementation

An act of Congress established the new National Civil Police (PNC) on 4 February.1 With high crime rates, profound corruption in the old National Police and low capacity in the new PNC, the Government sought options to used its armed forces for public safety purposes, which would constitute a violation of the spirit of the agreements.2

  • 1. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/51/936), June 30, 1997.
  • 2. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/52/757), February 4, 1998.
1998

Intermediate Implementation

The Government graduated and deployed the first tranche of new PNC recruits, and re-trained over 6,000 former members of the National Police and Treasury Guard. However, the addition of all the new PNC officers was not enough to establish law and order throughout the country.3 Many human rights violations were committed by members of the National Police and the PNC, while both institutions lacked effective measures to prevent abuses or punish officers who use excessive force.4

  • 3. Ibid.; “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/53/421), September 28, 1998.
  • 4. “Ninth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/53/853), March 10, 1999.
1999

Intermediate Implementation

MINUGUA confirmed the involvement of PNC officers in extrajudicial killings, torture and degrading punishment, other excessive uses of force, arbitrary arrests, and the obstruction of justice during investigations of these crimes. The Office of Professional Accountability in the PNC lacked the human and material resources to monitor and purify the entire police force.5

  • 5. “Tenth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/54/688), December 21, 1999.
2000

Intermediate Implementation

The Government regressed on its commitment to build up the civilian police force. Congress issued Decree No. 8-2000 on 21 March, authorizing Military Police to assist the PNC. After police failed to control crowds during protests over transportation fare hikes in Guatemala City in May, the PNC director was dismissed and Congress issued Decree No. 40-2000, authorizing the army to collaborate with civil security forces to fight crime. The President, through Government Agreement 87-2000, sanctioned the role of the army in maintaining security at penal institutions. Members of the PNC were implicated in many human rights violations, including extrajudicial executions.6

  • 6. “Eleventh Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/174), July 26, 2000.
2001

Intermediate Implementation

MINUGUA confirmed the involvement of the PNC in extrajudicial executions and attempted executions.7 

Spending for public security exceeded the set targets, but not enough of it was dedicated to improving the infrastructure and equipment of the PNC. In the beginning of the year, the PNC grew to 18,314 members dispersed throughout most of the country. There were six district offices, twenty-seven departmental stations, 127 stations, 343 substations and eight mobile units. The quality of deployment was still lacking, and only 10% of personnel were women and only 14% indigenous persons.8 The PNC met its target of 20,000 members in December 2001.9

  • 7. “Twelfth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/56/273), August 8, 2001.
  • 8. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/973), June 1, 2001.
  • 9. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/56/1003), July 10, 2002.
2002

Intermediate Implementation

Despite the full deployment of the PNC, the public security situation deteriorated.10 The mixing of police and military forces increased.11

  • 10. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/56/1003), July 10, 2002.
  • 11. “Thirteenth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/57/336), August 22, 2002.
2003

Intermediate Implementation

The PNC weakened while crime was on the rise. The Government still relied on the Armed Forces to manage some aspects of public security. After consulting with civil society organizations, the Government created the Advisory Council on Security in February 2003.12 

MINUGUA called the poor performance of the PNC “one of the most serious setbacks in the peace process.” UN observers verified dozens of cases of extrajudicial killings and torture at the hands of PNC officers each year.13

  • 12. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/58/267), August 30, 2003.
  • 13. “Fourteenth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/58/566), November 10, 2003, Paragraph 25.
2004

Intermediate Implementation

The PNC continued on a downward spiral as the effects of recruiting most of its members from the former police structures became evident. With endemic corruption, constant turnover in leadership, poor funding and many cases of police abuses, the public did not accept the PNC as a legitimate guarantor of public security.14 In response, the Government established the Commission on Transparency and Corruption.15

  • 14. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/59/307), August 30, 2004.
  • 15. “Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Situation of Human Rights in Guatemala,” United Nations Economic and Social Council (E/CN.4/2006/10/Add.1), February 1, 2006.
2005

Intermediate Implementation

The PNC had 20,186 active-duty officers, or 1.58 officers for every 1,000 persons in the population, which was far below the international average. Following the recommendations of the Commission for Historical Clarification, the PNC dismissed 763 officers implicated in human rights violations.16 The police force remained one of the most inefficient and corrupt institution in Guatemala.17

  • 16. “Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Situation of Human Rights in Guatemala,” United Nations Economic and Social Council (E/CN.4/2006/10/Add.1), February 1, 2006.
  • 17. "2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – Guatemala," State Department, 2006, accessed May 23, 2012, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61729.htm.
2006

Intermediate Implementation

There were some efforts to reform the police force in Guatemala including increasing the strength of the police force. Nevertheless, inefficiency and corruption were rampant in the police force which is one of the contributing factors to higher crime rates.18

Demobilization

Agreement on the Strengthening of Civilian Power and the Role of the Armed Forces in Democratic Society (Mexico City, 19 September 1996)

IV. Executive Branch: C. Armed forces

Implementation History
1997

Intermediate Implementation

United Nations military observers verified that the Guatemalan Armed Forces and the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG) separated, assembled in the proper locations, and began demobilizing on schedule—even ahead of schedule in some cases. A total of 2,928 URNG personnel assembled at the camps, which was 642 less than the 3,570 on the list submitted to the UN military observers previously, but subsequent investigations showed that the concentration of URNG forces was indeed complete. An additional 1,258 persons affiliated with the URNG were not required to go to the assembly points, but they were registered and issued identification cards. After the verification of concentration on 24 March, the URNG combatants were demobilized in three waves, beginning on 15 April and ending on 2 May.1

The Ministry of Defense began reducing military personnel in accordance with the Agreement on the Strengthening of Civilian Power and on the Role of Armed Forces in a Democratic Society. By the end of 1997, the number of active duty troops dropped from 46,900 to 31,270, which actually exceeded the 33% reduction mandated by the agreements. However, the Armed Forces did not satisfy the agreement in terms of geographic redeployment and redistribution.2

  • 1. “Report of the Secretary-General on the Group of Military Observers Attached to MINUGUA,” United Nations Security Council (S/1997/432), June 4, 1997.
  • 2. “Verification Report: Status of the Commitments of the Peace Agreements Relating to the Armed Forces,” United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA), May 2002; “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/52/757), February 4, 1998.
1998

Intermediate Implementation

Military personnel reductions continued, culminating on 23 September 1998, when MINUGUA verified that the Armed Forces fulfilled the agreements, with a total number of 31,423 personnel. Unfortunately, military units were deployed in postures inconsistent with the commitment to serve in a national defense capacity only.3

  • 3. “Verification Report: Status of the Commitments of the Peace Agreements Relating to the Armed Forces,” United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA), May 2002.
1999

Intermediate Implementation

The Armed Forces continued to deploy in patterns more suited for counter-insurgency than for national defense.4

2000

Intermediate Implementation

Over 30 of the military's counter-insurgency units were dismantled, but further progress toward compliance with demobilization stipulations were deferred until the new deadline at the end of 2002.5

2001

Intermediate Implementation

The Armed Forces maintained several units that served no purpose for external defense and instead involved themselves in all sorts of internal affairs that should have been relegated to the National Civilian Police (PNC) and other non-military bodies. The Minister of Defense admitted that the Armed Forces were still deployed for counter-insurgency. The Chief of the General Staff spoke of a five-year plan to shift military deployment so it would comply with the agreements, but UN verifiers never received a copy of the plan.6

2002

Intermediate Implementation

The Government demobilized 186 members of the Presidential General Staff (EMP).7

  • 7. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/58/267), August 30, 2003.
2003

Intermediate Implementation

The Government made more progress in demobilizing the EMP, which was to be replaced by the Administrative and Security Affairs Secretariat (SAAS). The EMP had 449 members remaining after 107 members were demobilized in May 2003.8

  • 8. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/58/267), August 30, 2003.
2004

Full Implementation

The demobilization of the URNG was a general success. After converting to a political organization, the URNG never resumed an armed strategy. The Government decided to reduce the number of troops and officers in the Armed Forces from 27,000 to 15,500 and to accelerate base closings consistent with a reorientation toward external defense only. The EMP was finally replaced by the SAAS.9

  • 9. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/59/307), August 30, 2004.
2005

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2006

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

Disarmament

Agreement on the Strengthening of Civilian Power and the Role of the Armed Forces in Democratic Society (Mexico City, 19 September 1996)

IV. Executive Branch: C. Armed forces

Implementation History
1997

Full Implementation

After gathering at their prescribed assembly points on 24 March, Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG) combatants registered and relinquished their armaments to United Nations military observers. After collecting 1,824 weapons and 535,102 munitions, and destroying 1,390 mines and a stockpile of other explosives, the UN military observers certified the disarming of the URNG as complete on 14 May.1

  • 1. “Report of the Secretary-General on the Group of Military Observers Attached to MINUGUA,” United Nations Security Council (S/1997/432), June 4, 1997.
1998

Full Implementation

URNG disarmament was completed in 1997. Nevertheless, the government was also trying to collect illegally owned weapons. 

1999

Full Implementation

URNG disarmament was completed in 1997. Nevertheless, the government was also trying to collect illegally owned weapons. 

2000

Full Implementation

The Arms and Munitions Control Department (DECAM) of the Armed Forces kept track of legally registered weapons circulated among the civilian population. Approximately 150,000 firearms were owned by 60,000 persons—most of them in Guatemala City. An estimated 2,000,000 unregistered weapons were also in circulation—including in the hands of illegal security groups—indicating a major shortfall in DECAM's ability to regulate the possession of weapons in the country.2

  • 2. “Eleventh Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/174), July 26, 2000.
2001

Full Implementation

DECAM reported a 50% increase in the sales of privately owned firearms. Congress had not yet passed the necessary laws to regulate gun ownership to bring the Government into full compliance with the agreements.3

  • 3. “Thirteenth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/57/336), August 22, 2002.
2002

Full Implementation

While URNG disarmament was successful, regulating weapon ownership remained a challenging task. While a MINUGUA report suggested that much of the equipment possessed by the Armed Forces was deteriorated and obsolete, most of the government’s military spending was allocated to personal remuneration.4 Nevertheless, the government did not come up with the necessary laws to regulate the gun ownership as provided in the accords.

  • 4. “Verification Report: Status of the Commitments of the Peace Agreements Relating to the Armed Forces,” United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA), May 2002.
2003

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2004

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2005

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2006

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

Reintegration

Agreement on the Basis for the Legal Integration of the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (Madrid, 12 December 1996)

Implementation History
1997

Minimum Implementation

After the demobilization of the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG) was completed on 2 May, many ex-combatants stayed in shelters set up at the assembly points because they could not return to their communities. Reintegration programs, such as vocational training, began in these camps within a few weeks, and the newly disarmed and demobilized URNG began working on alternative places for them to resettle.1

Governmental Agreement 82-97 established the Special Integration Commission (CEI) on 28 January. The Commission began overseeing the implementation of emergency plans to assist ex-combatants in the areas of education and vocational training, among other things. The Government approved funding for other short-term assistance measures and some long-term reintegration programs. Most URNG ex-combatants received their primary documentation, and most of those who had fled the country returned.2

The URNG began the process of establishing itself as a legal political party on 18 June 1997, and its members reached an agreement on its new structure on 30 August 1997.3

  • 1. “Report of the Secretary-General on the Group of Military Observers Attached to MINUGUA,” United Nations Security Council (S/1997/432), June 4, 1997.
  • 2. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/51/936), June 30, 1997; “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/52/757), February 4, 1998.
  • 3. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/52/757), February 4, 1998.
1998

Intermediate Implementation

The Special Integration Commission made substantial progress in resettling former URNG fighters and coordinating with various domestic and international agencies in the training and support programs designed to equip ex-combatants to transition into civilian life. The Follow-up Commission granted CEI a six-month extension, as much work was yet to be done. The extension ended on 3 November 1998, at which point the Commission submitted a plan to deal some remaining issues from the initial phase of reintegration and proceed into the next phase of definitive integration.4

The URNG's progress toward becoming an official political party was stalled briefly by internal hang-ups but was then completed in November 1998.5

  • 4. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/53/421), September 28, 1998; “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/54/526), November 11, 1999.
  • 5. Ibid.
1999

Intermediate Implementation

Delays in releasing funds pledged by international donors prevented more than one-third of ex-combatants from reintegrating on schedule. Other delays in the implementation of projects for uprooted communities prevented another one-third of ex-combatants from reintegrating. More general difficulties in workforce development also hindered progress toward definitive integration. However, advancements were made in programs for education, granting titles to land, settling land disputes, and building housing and infrastructure.6

The URNG further solidified its standing as a political party in the 1999 elections. Joining with the Alianza Nueva Nacion, it won nine seats in Congress and thirteen mayoral races.7

  • 6. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/54/526), November 11, 1999.
  • 7. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/175), July 26, 2000.
2000

Intermediate Implementation

The program of production began a year late, but many other delays persisted in integrating ex-combatants into the workforce. While international funds were finally released, the Government's Program of Support for the Reintegration of Former Combatants (PAREC II) lacked matching funds to fully implemented the prescribed programs. The housing component of the plan for integration moved forward, with construction underway on 891 new units for uprooted and demobilized persons.8

2001

Intermediate Implementation

Some more progress was made on land and housing projects, but the definitive integration phase was still advancing very slowly, especially programs for making ex-combatants part of the country's economic production.9 The government created a commission to monitor the integration of the URNG in June 2001.10

  • 9. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/973), June 1, 2001.
  • 10. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/56/1003), July 10, 2002.
2002

Intermediate Implementation

The government had not yet developed a comprehensive policy on rural development, which impeded progress on the definitive integration of URNG ex-combatants. Housing projects for reintegrated former combatants progressed, but the purchase of land through the Land Trust Fund did not. The government cut back the budget allocation for the commission set up in the previous year to monitor the integration of the URNG.11

2003

Intermediate Implementation

Progress in reintegration programs was still lacking. A major project to reintegrate ex-combatants supported by the European Union ended in May 2003.12

  • 12. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/58/267), August 30, 2003.
2004

Full Implementation

The reintegration of former URNG combatants into civilian life was a general success. However, the broad shortcomings of the economic and social development programs left the ex-combatants who relied on government support in a precarious situation.13

  • 13. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/59/307), August 30, 2004.
2005

No further developments observed.

2006

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

Paramilitary Groups

Agreement on the Strengthening of Civilian Power and the Role of the Armed Forces in Democratic Society (Mexico City, 19 September 1996)

VII. Operational Considerations Resulting from the End of the Armed Conflict

Voluntary Civil Defence Committees (CVDC)

Implementation History
1997

Intermediate Implementation

The Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights of 1996 stipulated that the Government of Guatemala must distance itself from the Voluntary Civil Defense Committees (CVDC), which were implicated in many of the human rights violations committed during the decades-long armed conflict. The Agreement on the Strengthening of Civilian Power and on the Role of the Armed Forces in a Democratic Society of 1996 required that the CVDC be fully divorced from the Armed Forces of Guatemala, demobilized and disarmed. This process indeed began even before the signing of the final Agreement on a Firm and Lasting Peace at the end of 1996. On 28 November, the Congress repealed the decree that initially established the CVDC. A total of 270,906 CVDC members in 2,643 committees were demobilized, and 14,000 weapons were recovered. However, many former CVDC members retained light firearms and ammunition without legally registering them. In addition, the Armed Forces supported new alternative community defense organizations with direct ties to former CVDC, both in form and membership.1

A total of 2,421 members of the Mobile Military Police (PMA) were demobilized—699 members of the Ordinary Mobile Military Police in March 1997, and 1,722 members of the Extraordinary Mobile Military Police in December 1997. Before the demobilization was complete, some PMA members protested, refusing to abandon their barracks and holding some military officers hostage. Heavily armed military forces surrounded the protesters and they surrendered.2

  • 1. “Verification Report: Status of the Commitments of the Peace Agreements Relating to the Armed Forces,” United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA), May 2002; “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/51/936), June 30, 1997.
  • 2. “Verification Report: Status of the Commitments of the Peace Agreements Relating to the Armed Forces,” United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA), May 2002.
1998

Intermediate Implementation

Government Accord 13-98 formally abolished the PMA. All demobilized PMA members received economic compensation, and many were subsequently integrated into state security bodies and private security companies.3

Clandestine and otherwise illegal security groups were active in many parts of the country. In many instances their activities were indistinguishable from organized crime, but some also functioned much like counterinsurgency forces did during the conflict and were implicated in politically-motivated crimes, such as “social cleansing” operations. Some also enjoyed tolerance or participatory support by State agents.4

  • 3. Ibid.
  • 4. “Ninth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/53/853), March 10, 1999.
1999

Intermediate Implementation

MINUGUA conducted more investigations into illegal security groups, finding several cases of forces explicitly linked to public officials and other evidence that these groups receive support from Government agents and/or have ties to former CVDC (such as the use of heavy weaponry and sophisticated communication technology). The general lack of law and order in the country gave illegal security groups a pretext continuing their activities unabated.5

  • 5. “Tenth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/54/688), December 21, 1999.
2000

Intermediate Implementation

Illegal security forces and clandestine armed groups remained active in the country, with very little Government action to combat them. MINUGUA identified three types of illegal armed groups: (1) those linked to the PNC; (2) those operating at the behest of agro-industrial companies (which were particularly violent); and (3) those tied to military detachments, with local hired assassins carrying out the orders.6 Some demobilized PMA members formed the Association of Former PMA Members, which pressured the Government to give them more compensation. The modified agreement on the timetable for compliance with the Peace Agreements, which extended the ultimate deadline to 2004, included provisions to give additional compensation to ex-PMA members in 2001.7

  • 6. “Eleventh Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/174), July 26, 2000.
  • 7. “Verification Report: Status of the Commitments of the Peace Agreements Relating to the Armed Forces,” United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA), May 2002.
2001

Intermediate Implementation

MINUGUA confirmed that former members of the abolished CVDCs, working with municipal authorities, were mainly responsible for the wave of lynchings across the country.8 The Presidential Unit for the Resolution of Conflicts spearheaded negotiations with the Association of Former PMA Members, the outcome of which was increased educational and training opportunities for ex-PMA members.9 The President admitted that clandestine armed groups and organized crime gangs had penetrated the Ministry of the Interior.10

  • 8. “Twelfth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/56/273), August 8, 2001.
  • 9. “Verification Report: Status of the Commitments of the Peace Agreements Relating to the Armed Forces,” United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA), May 2002.
  • 10. “Thirteenth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/57/336), August 22, 2002.
2002

Intermediate Implementation

The programs for ex-PMA members served 135 persons and concluded in March 2002.11 Former CVDC members protested to demand compensation for their service to the military during the armed conflict, and the Government made preparations to do so (while it made no moves at all to compensate the victims of the egregious crimes carried out by the CVDCs).12

The President's Strategic Analysis Secretariat publicized its plans to root out illegal armed groups from government organs. The Office of the Public Prosecutor and MINUGUA were involved in investigations as well.13

  • 11. “Verification Report: Status of the Commitments of the Peace Agreements Relating to the Armed Forces,” United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA), May 2002.
  • 12. “Thirteenth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/57/336), August 22, 2002.
  • 13. Ibid.
2003

Intermediate Implementation

The Government requested the help of the UN Secretary-General to create the Commission for the Investigation of Illegal Groups and Clandestine Security Operations (CICIACS).14

  • 14. “Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Situation of Human Rights in Guatemala,” United Nations Economic and Social Council (E/CN.4/2006/10/Add.1), February 1, 2006.
2004

Intermediate Implementation

The Constitutional Court overturned legislation passed by Congress that would award 114 million US dollars to 500,000 former members of the paramilitary “civil defense patrols” (PACs).15

  • 15. “Guatemala,” Keesing's Record of World Events Volume 50 (December 2004): 46361.
2005

Intermediate Implementation

The Constitutional Court reiterated its reversal of Congress's decision to give compensation to former PAC members. The former PAC members threatened mass protests but never followed through.16

  • 16. Ibid., 46458.
2006

Intermediate Implementation

Congress approved the creation of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) on August 1. With support from the UN and international experts, CICIG was designed to investigate and eliminate illegal armed groups. This move came in the context of widespread political violence since the election campaign season began in May 2007.17

  • 17. “Approval of UN-backed commission – Pre-election Violence,” Keesing's Record of World Events Volume 53 (August 2007): 48074.
Human Rights

Comprehensive Agreement Human Rights (Mexico City, 19 March 1994)

I. General Commitment Regarding Human Rights

1. The Government of the Republic of Guatemala reaffirms its adherence to the principles and norms designed to guarantee and protect the full observance of human rights, and its political will to enforce them.

Implementation History
1997

Intermediate Implementation

The Agreement on a Firm and Lasting Peace (Guatemala City, 29 December 1996) brought a formal end to a horrendous armed conflict, which the Commission for Historical Clarification later determined included acts of genocide perpetrated by the Guatemalan Government against indigenous Mayan populations (See Guatemala: Memory of Silence, 25 February 1999). The mandates of the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights (Mexico City, 19 March 1994) notwithstanding, the implementation of the ceasefire, including the demobilization of the URNG combatants and a large portion of the Guatemalan Armed Forces, marked the single greatest improvement the human rights situation in Guatemala. Nevertheless, the imperative throughout the remainder of the peace process was to reform the social and political structures that allowed such violations to occur, as they did not instantly change with the signing of the agreements.

The death penalty was reinstated after being abolished years earlier.1

With the formal end of the armed conflict, the main human rights concerns shifted from issues related to the right to life to issues related to the right to due process. Weak protection for the right to the integrity of person remained an additional matter of concern.2 The responsibility for these shortcomings fell mostly on the National Police.3

The Armed Forces promptly began internal reviews, including the dismissal of personnel implicated in human rights violations.4

The Government generally upheld its commitment to respect and protect the independent judiciary, and the Public Prosecutor's Office in turn grew stronger and more efficient. The Government did not give the Office of the Counsel for Human Rights nearly as much money in the budget as it requested, leading to suspended operations in several departmental auxiliary offices.5

  • 1. “Thirteenth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/57/336), August 22, 2002.
  • 2. “Sixth Report of the Director of the United Nations Mission for the Verification of Human Rights and of Compliance with the Commitments of the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights on Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/51/790), January 31, 1997.
  • 3. “Seventh Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/52/330), September 10, 1997.
  • 4. “Sixth Report of the Director of the United Nations Mission for the Verification of Human Rights and of Compliance with the Commitments of the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights on Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/51/790), January 31, 1997.
  • 5. “Seventh Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/52/330), September 10, 1997.
1998

Intermediate Implementation

Since the signing of the agreements, there had been an incremental decline in the number of reports of human rights violations filed with MINUGUA, owing in large part to the demobilization of combatants, especially the paramilitary forces such as the Voluntary Civil Defense Committees. However, the general experience of the civilian population was colored by high incidences of crime and deficiencies with regard to the administration of justice and other human rights protections.6

After much progress during the previous few years, the improvements in the human rights situation slowed and stagnated in mid-1998. The main issues of concern for MINUGUA were lynchings, “social cleansing” actions, clandestine and illegal security forces, threats against judicial officials and human rights activists, and especially the climate of impunity.7

The Office of the Counsel for Human Rights continued to suffer from a lack of funding.8

  • 6. “Eighth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/52/946), June 15, 1998.
  • 7. “Report of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA) for the Consultative Group Meeting for Guatemala," United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala – MINUGUA, January 18, 2002.
  • 8. “Eighth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/52/946), June 15, 1998.
1999

Intermediate Implementation

The number of confirmed reports of human rights violations rose significantly. The most worrisome increases occurred in the practice of torture, the deprivation of individual liberty, the denial of due process of law, and the restriction of political rights. There was a trend of increasing constraints on the rights of free association and labor union organizing.9 There were also many reports of violations of political rights, mostly connected to shortcomings in electoral reforms before the November and December 1999 elections.10

  • 9. “Tenth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/54/688), December 21, 1999.
  • 10. “Eleventh Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/174), July 26, 2000.
2000

Intermediate Implementation

MINUGUA found Government agencies were responsible for a disturbing trend of a general failure to protect and some active violations of human rights. The justice system often neglected to investigate reports of violations or enforce human rights standards. Reports of violations of rights of association and assembly increased, along with violations of the right to individual liberty and security of person. Reports of violations of the right to life decreased, but the proportion of reports alleging the involvement of the PNC in violations increased. The Supreme Court of Justice upheld the death sentence, and the Government continued to enact it, despite appeals from the UN Commission on Human Rights to suspend executions and abolish the death penalty. The State also indirectly encouraged lynchings and mob violence by allowing perpetrators to enjoy impunity.11

In February, Guatemala ratified the Inter-American Convention on Forced Disappearance of Persons. It became signatory to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child in September 2000. A month later, it ratified the Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and then in November, it ratified the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The latter reform made it possible for individuals to lodge complaints with the UN Human Rights Committee. Despite these advances, the laws, policies and practices of the Government had not been adequately reformed to uphold all the standards in the international human rights instruments.12

President Portillo signed an agreement with the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, in which he admitted the Government was responsible for 17 out of more than 100 atrocities committed during the civil war.13 A moratorium on executions took effect, but without officially abolishing capital punishment.14

  • 11. Ibid.
  • 12. “Twelfth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/56/273), August 8, 2001.
  • 13. “Guatemala,” Keesing's Record of World Events Volume 46 (August 2000): 43699.
  • 14. “Death Penalty Law,” Keesing's Record of World Events Volume 54 (February 2008): 48401.
2001

Intermediate Implementation

Municipal authorities were found to be colluding with former members of the abolished Voluntary Civil Defense Committees (CVDCs) to carry out lynchings, and both the Armed Forces and the PNC were shown to be responsible for extrajudicial executions. The PNC was also responsible for other serious human rights violations, mainly relating to the excessive use of force, cruel or degrading punishment, and conspiracy to cover up their crimes. In violation of the American Convention on Human Rights, the Guatemalan Constitutional Court rendered a decision to expand the use of the death penalty for persons convicted of non-lethal kidnapping. Restrictions on the freedom of association and assembly persisted, for which municipal authorities were solely responsible. Due to the ongoing constraints on union organizers and the rise in reports of threats against journalists, the Public Prosecutor's Office set up the Special Prosecutor's Office for the Protection of Journalists and Trade Unionists on 8 June 2001.15

The budget allocation for the Office of the Counsel for Human Rights increased compared to the previous year, but it was still less than half the amount requested.16

On 1 June 2001, Labor Code reforms took effect and brought Guatemala closer to compliance with International Labor Organization standards for collective bargaining.17

  • 15. “Twelfth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/56/273), August 8, 2001.
  • 16. Ibid.
  • 17. “Thirteenth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/57/336), August 22, 2002.
2002

Intermediate Implementation

The extended timetable for the implementation of the Agreements was yet unfulfilled, and the general situation of compliance with human rights standards worsened. Lynchings, mob violence, and illegal armed group activities went on with few effective responses from legal authorities, making impunity the norm. The PNC was also increasingly involved in human rights violations itself. To make matters worse, PNC agents were frequently involved in the obstruction of justice.18

After many months of assassinations and attacks on human rights workers, the Public Prosecutor commissioned a special prosecutor to investigate these crimes in May 2002.19

2003

Intermediate Implementation

In its final human rights report, MINUGUA offered the following general evaluation of the implementation of commitments regarding human rights: “Despite hopeful advances just after the signing of the peace agreements, the country is now moving in the wrong direction with regard to human rights issues. Momentum for the reform of crucial institutions, principally the police, the Public Prosecutor and the courts, has stalled at a time when changes have not fully taken root, and modernization efforts are starved of budgetary resources and political support."20

  • 20. “Fourteenth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/58/566), November 10, 2003, Paragraph 22.
2004

Intermediate Implementation

As MINUGUA phased out operations, it remained very critical of the Guatemalan Government about the poor human rights situation.21

The Constitutional Court dismissed a case against sixteen soldiers accused of perpetrating the massacre in Dos Erres in 1982 because the investigating judge began the proceedings before the Appeals Court had formally declared that the amnesty did not apply in this case.22

The Office of the Human Rights Prosecutor reported a 13% increase in violent crime during the first half of 2004. Leaders from the Office of the Human Rights Prosecutor and over 500 other rights groups organized mass demonstrations in August to pressure the Government to restore law and order. President Berger subsequently announced a plan to boost social development.23

  • 21. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/59/746), March 18, 2005.
  • 22. “Guatemala: Annulment of War Crimes Trial,” Keesing's Record of World Events Volume 51 (February 2005): 46458.
  • 23. “Guatemala,” Keesing's Record of World Events Volume 50 (August 2004): 46151.
2005

Intermediate Implementation

The Government made an agreement with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on 10 January to establish an office in Guatemala to observe and advise Government institutions. The office opened on 20 September, and its first reported observation was the increase in homicides and other violent crimes in 2005. With regard to the agreements on human rights, impunity was the major underlying problem.24

The government established the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Human Rights to improve protections for human rights defenders.25

  • 24. “Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Situation of Human Rights in Guatemala,” United Nations Economic and Social Council (E/CN.4/2006/10/Add.1), February 1, 2006.
  • 25. Ibid.
2006

Intermediate Implementation

In spite of efforts to establish the office of the Special Prosecutor for Human Rights, the human rights situation remained a serious issue in Guatemala. According to Human Rights Report, Guatemala made little progress toward securing the protection of human rights and the rule of law.26

In 2008, Congress passed a bill giving the President the option to commute death sentences to life in prison. President Caballeros stated at first that he would not commute the sentences of 21 prisoners on death row.27 But about a month later, President Caballeros vetoed the bill, reinstating the de facto moratorium on capital punishment.28

In August 2011, four former soldiers from the “Kaibiles” (commandos) were sentenced to over 6,000 years in prison for the massacre of 201 civilians in Dos Erres 1982.29 In October, the Government indicted former President Oscar Mejia for charges of genocide.30 In December, President Caballeros issued a formal apology for the Government's participation in the Dos Erres massacre.31

  • 26. "World Report," Human Rights Watch (various years), Washington, DC.
  • 27. “Death Penalty Law,” Keesing's Record of World Events Volume 54 (February 2008): 48401.
  • 28. “Presidential Veto of Death Penalty Bill," Keesing's Record of World Events Volume 54 (March 2008): 48456.
  • 29. “Constitutional Court Rulings,” Keesing's Record of World Events Volume 57 (August 2011): 50595.
  • 30. “Guatemala Will Charge Ex-President with Genocide,"The Gazette (Montreal), Final Edition, October 14, 2011, Pg. A15.
  • 31. “Government Apology for Dos Erres Massacre,” Keesing's Record of World Events Volume 57 (December 2011): 50811.
Amnesty

Agreement on the Basis for the Legal Integration of the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (Madrid, 12 December 1996)

III. Elements of the Integration Programme: A. Legal area

National Reconciliation Act

Implementation History
1997

Full Implementation

The Government submitted a draft National Reconciliation Act to Congress, which included amnesty for certain political and other crimes committed by URNG members, in keeping with the agreements.1 Congress made the bill law on December 18. It gave “limited amnesty” to members of the Armed Forces and Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG) for political crimes committed during the civil war, excluding acts of genocide, torture and disappearances.2

The Amnesty provision of the accord was implemented in 1996. Prosecution of those not covered by the Amnesty, however, was delayed.

  • 1. “Seventh Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/52/330), September 10, 1997.
  • 2. “Final Peace Accord,” Keesing's Record of World Events Volume 42 (December 1996): 41406.
1998

Full Implementation

No developments observed this year.

1999

Full Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2000

Full Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2001

Full Implementation

In 2011, four soldiers were convicted and imprisoned for the massacre of 201 civilians in Dos Erres 1982.3

  • 3. “Constitutional Court Rulings,” Keesing's Record of World Events Volume 57 (August 2011): 50595.
2002

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2003

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2004

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2005

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2006

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

Refugees

Agreement on Resettlement of the Population Groups Uprooted by the Armed Conflict (Oslo, 17 June 1994)

I. Definitions, Principles and Objectives of a Comprehensive Strategy for Resettling the Populations Uprooted by Armed Conflict

Definitions

Implementation History
1997

Minimum Implementation

Approximately 4,000 refugees, mainly from Mexico, returned to Guatemala. Some 32,500 refugees still remained in Mexico.1

In order to help displaced persons return to a normal life, the Congress adopted the Temporary Special Act on Personal Documentation of the Population Uprooted by the Internal Armed Conflict, which took effect on 16 October 1997. Some municipalities refused to implement it, however, and the Ministry of the Interior for its part failed to ensure the law was properly observed across the country.2

  • 1. “Sixth Report of the Director of the United Nations Mission for the Verification of Human Rights and of Compliance with the Commitments of the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights on Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/51/790), January 31, 1997.
  • 2. “Eighth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/52/946), June 15, 1998.
1998

Minimum Implementation

No developments observed this year.

1999

Intermediate Implementation

The process of repatriating Guatemalan refugees from Mexico was completed on 30 June 1999. Approximately 43,000 persons in total were resettled, but they faced a precarious situation in Guatemala due to shortcomings in with land access programs.3

  • 3. “Report of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA) for the Consultative Group Meeting for Guatemala," United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala – MINUGUA, January 18, 2002.
2000

Intermediate Implementation

While the Government made plans to improve education, health and housing programs for resettled persons, it did not actually allocate funds to the projects.4

2001

Intermediate Implementation

No significant progress was made toward comprehensive rural development, and displaced persons especially suffered from social exclusion and denied access to land. Whatever projects were being implemented were piecemeal and short-sighted.5

  • 5. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/973), June 1, 2001.
2002

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2003

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2004

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2005

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2006

Intermediate Implementation

No major developments related to refugees took place in 2006. In 2007, the last large group of refugees—about 150 persons—returned from Bolivia to Guatemala after living in exile over 20 years.6

  • 6. Mica Rosenberg, “Refugees Return from Poverty in Exile,” The Advertiser, April 3, 2007, 27.
Internally Displaced Persons

Agreement on Resettlement of the Population Groups Uprooted by the Armed Conflict (Oslo, 17 June 1994)

I. Definitions, Principles and Objectives of a Comprehensive Strategy for Resettling the Populations Uprooted by Armed Conflict

Definitions

Implementation History
1997

Minimum Implementation

In order to help displaced persons return to a normal life, the Congress adopted the Temporary Special Act on Personal Documentation of the Population Uprooted by the Internal Armed Conflict, which took effect on 16 October 1997. Some municipalities refused to implement it, however, and the Ministry of the Interior for its part failed to ensure the law was properly observed across the country.1 It was reported that there were more than 200,000 IDPs in 1996 and 242,386 in 1997 according to governmental figures.2

1998

Minimum Implementation

Hurricane Mitch disproportionately affected Guatemala's poor and displaced populations, and caused thousands of new displacements.3 The 1998 estimate of IDPs was about 250,000. In June 1998, representatives of more than 100,000 IDPs signed the accord "Accord on the Resettlement of Populations Uprooted by the Armed Conflict." The accord had called for fulfilling the needs of displaced persons, such as land and basic infrastructure for the IDPs in areas where they intended to relocate.4

1999

Minimum Implementation

There were still more than 250,000 IDPs waiting for resettlement according to IDMC. 

2000

Minimum Implementation

While the Government made plans to improve education, health and housing programs for resettled persons, it did not actually allocate funds to the projects.5 An organized collective of IDPs, Comunidades de Pueblos en Resistencia (with a total of 15,000 members), was able to gain international attention and purchase new land. Nevertheless, the resettlement of the much larger number of non-organized IDPs was not adequately addressed. The UNHCR maintained its position that there were no IPDS in Guatemala. Given the cyclical nature of displacement in Guatemala, it was difficult to determine who were or were not conflict induced IDPs.6

  • 5. “Report of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA) for the Consultative Group Meeting for Guatemala," United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala – MINUGUA, January 18, 2002.
  • 6. "Guatemala," IDMC, 2009, accessed 29 May 2012, http://www.internal-displacement.org/idmc/website/countries.nsf/(httpEnvelopes)/EE4DEA6CC40B5692802570B8005A7316?OpenDocument.
2001

Minimum Implementation

No significant progress was made toward comprehensive rural development, and displaced persons especially suffered from social exclusion and were denied access to land. Whatever projects were being implemented were piecemeal and short-sighted.7

  • 7. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/973), June 1, 2001.
2002

Minimum Implementation

An estimated 400,000 people remained displaced in 2002.8

2003

Minimum Implementation

It was estimated that between 250,000 to one million remained displaced in 2003.9 The Peace Secretariat (SEPAZ) and the National Council of Displaced People in Guatemala estimated that there were around 100,000 IDPs due to economic problems or lack of economic opportunities and also due to the internal conflict.

2004

Minimum Implementation

The Peace Secretariat (SEPAZ) and the National Council of Displaced People in Guatemala estimated found difficulty in establishing the exact number of IDPs. In 2004, these two organizations identified about 8,000 IDPs and assisted 3,500 by July 2004.

2005

Minimum Implementation

The IDP issue is still unresolved in Guatemala. No developments observed this year.

2006

Minimum Implementation

No further developments observed.

Indigenous Minority Rights

Agreement on Identity and Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Mexico City, 6 May 1996)

I. Identity of Indigenous Peoples

1. Recognition of the identity of the indigenous peoples is fundamental to the construction of a national unity based on respect for and the exercise of political, cultural, economic and spiritual rights of all Guatemalans.

Implementation History
1997

Intermediate Implementation

In compliance with the agreements, Guatemala ratified International Labor Organization Convention 196 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples.1

The general situation of widespread discrimination against indigenous peoples, particularly with regard to the justice system, did not change much during the initial periods of the implementation of the agreements.2

The Agreement on the Implementation, Compliance and Verification Timetable for the Peace Agreements stipulated that the constitutional reforms related to the rights of indigenous peoples should be presented to the Congress of the Republic for ratification by 15 April, but the Follow-up Commission rescheduled the deadline for 15 May. The Guatemalan government presented the draft constitutional amendments to the Congress on 15 May, thus technically fulfilling the terms of the agreements.3

The Government created the Joint Commission for Reform and Participation in September 1997.4

  • 1. “Report of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA) for the Consultative Group Meeting for Guatemala,” United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala – MINUGUA, January 18, 2002.
  • 2. “Seventh Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/52/330), September 10, 1997.
  • 3. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/51/936), June 30, 1997.
  • 4. “The Indigenous Peoples of Guatemala: Overcoming Discrimination in the Framework of the Peace Agreements, Verification Report," United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA), September 2001.
1998

Intermediate Implementation

All 50 constitutional amendments submitted by the Government were approved by the Congress in October 1998. The constitution mandated that they then be submitted to the people for a referendum, scheduled for May 1999.5

  • 5. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/54/526), November 11, 1999.
1999

Intermediate Implementation

The referendum for the full package of constitutional amendments occurred on 16 May 1999. With low turnout, voters denied the proposed amendments related to the redefinition of the nation and the formal recognition of indigenous peoples and their rights, along with all other proposed amendments. As provisions for improved rights and protections for indigenous peoples were featured prominently in the referendum, this outcome indicated that the country was far from reconciled after the formal end of the civil war.6

The Follow-up Commission developed plans to implement commitments on the recognition and rights of indigenous people through new legislation rather than constitutional reforms.7

  • 6. Ibid.
  • 7. “The Indigenous Peoples of Guatemala: Overcoming Discrimination in the Framework of the Peace Agreements, Verification Report," United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA), September 2001.
2000

Intermediate Implementation

When the Commission for the Follow-up of the Peace Agreements agreed to move the final deadline for compliance from 2000 to 2004, it confirmed that most of the stipulations related to the rights of indigenous peoples were still pending. One important concern was the disenfranchisement of indigenous persons, especially women in rural communities, from political participation. A continued lack of documentation (even after the Temporary Law of Personal Documentation was passed in October 2000) was one concrete obstacle, but many other less tangible factors contributed to the social marginalization of indigenous communities and kept them from becoming more involved in elections, civil administration and the justice system.8

The Government faltered in its implementation of policies related to rural development. Including measures to codify the land rights of indigenous communities. The agricultural policy the Government set for 2000-2004 lacked guarantees for multiculturalism or procedures to ensure indigenous peoples would be involved in decisions about their own development.9

  • 8. Ibid.
  • 9. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/175), July 26, 2000; “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/973), June 1, 2000.
2001

Intermediate Implementation

The provisions in the Agreements for indigenous communities to own and manage their land were still not honored. While indigenous practices traditionally worked well for the sustainable use of natural resources, the Government's backward and ineffective rural development policies undermined both indigenous rights and a sustainable ecology.10

By September 2001, only the Ministry of Education had recognized the right of indigenous persons to wear their traditional attire. However, the Ministry of Education had so far failed to implement comprehensive intercultural and bilingual education programs or improve indigenous communities' access to education at the levels stipulated by the agreements. Furthermore, the judicial system had largely failed to adapt to guarantee equal access and equal rights for indigenous persons, and the provisions in the agreement to facilitate indigenous communities' access to communications media had not been implemented either.11

  • 10. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/973), June 1, 2001.
  • 11. “The Indigenous Peoples of Guatemala: Overcoming Discrimination in the Framework of the Peace Agreements, Verification Report," United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA), September 2001.
2002

Intermediate Implementation

The Social Security Institute did not as yet extend services to indigenous people.12

The extended timetable for the implementation of the Agreements was yet unfulfilled. The Government made no effective moves to address the root causes of the armed conflict or seek reconciliation with the victims of the Armed Forces' past genocidal actions.13

Congress passed legislation reforming the penal code to criminalize racial and other forms of discrimination, and to enfranchise the indigenous population in local level government and public services.14

  • 12. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/1003), July 10, 2002.
  • 13. “Thirteenth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/57/336) August 22, 2002.
  • 14. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/59/746), March 18, 2005; “Information Received from Governments: Guatemala,” United Nations Economic and Social Council, Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (E/C.19/2010/12/Add.8), March 3, 2010.
2003

Intermediate Implementation

In its final human rights report, MINUGUA gave an overwhelmingly negative evaluation of the Government's actions for indigenous persons: “The isolation and discrimination faced by Guatemala's indigenous peoples—half the country's population—have not visibly changed since 1997... Indigenous populations, particularly women, remain disproportionately poor, suffer high rates of illiteracy and health and social problems, largely as a result of lack of access to health care, education, decent housing, employment and social services."15

  • 15. “Fourteenth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/58/566) November 10, 2003, Paragraph 21.
2004

Intermediate Implementation

The Government failed to comply with ILO Convention No. 169, which requires consultation with indigenous peoples in all legislative or administrative measures that might impact them.16

  • 16. “Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Situation of Human Rights in Guatemala,” United Nations Economic and Social Council (E/CN.4/2006/10/Add.1), February 1, 2006.
2005

Intermediate Implementation

Ten years after it was signed, the Agreement on Identity and Rights of Indigenous Persons had the lowest degree of implementation of all the agreements. Racial discrimination remained a predominant problem in Guatemalan society.17

2006

Intermediate Implementation

After facing discriminatory practices in previous elections, approximately one million Guatemalans, many of them indigenous persons, were able to register to vote for the first time.18

On 12 October 2009 (Columbus Day), approximately 20,000 indigenous citizens participated in protests against the Government's failure to protect indigenous rights.19

  • 18. Manuel Roig-Franzia, “For Guatemalan Villagers, Ability to Vote Is a Victory,” The Washington Post, Met 2 Edition, September 10, 2007, A11.
  • 19. “Protests by Indigenous Citizens,” Keesing's Record of World Events Volume 55 (October 2009): 49456.
Women's Rights

Agreement on the Strengthening of Civilian Power and the Role of the Armed Forces in Democratic Society (Mexico City, 19 September 1996)

VI. The Role of Women in Strengthening Civilian Power

59. In order to increase opportunities for women to participate in the exercise of civilian power, the Government undertakes to:

Implementation History
1997

Minimum Implementation

In response to stipulations from the Agreement on Social and Economic Aspects and the Agrarian Situation, the Follow-up Commission established a Coordinating Commission for the Women's Forum on 21 May 1997.1 The Women's Forum was then formally established on 12 November.2

  • 1. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/51/936), June 30, 1997.
  • 2. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/52/757), February 4, 1998.
1998

Minimum Implementation

The Office of the First Lady coordinated with the National Office for Women's Affairs and representatives from other women's organizations to create the National Policy for the Promotion and Development of Guatemalan Women and the Equal Opportunities Plan, 1997-2001, which they submitted to the Government for implementation.3

  • 3. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/53/421), September 28, 1998.
1999

Intermediate Implementation

The Women's Forum incorporated representatives from diverse linguistic and ethnic communities in its ongoing effort to make a unified push for equal rights and equal opportunities for women in Guatemala. The Government, however, was slow to change and neglected to review draft legislation that would protect women against discrimination in the labor market.4

Consistent with obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women, Government decree number 7-99 of 9 March 1999 enacted protections for the dignity and comprehensive advancement of Women. Decrees 29-99 and 80-98 also reformed the Civil Code to improve gender equality.5

  • 4. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/54/526), November 11, 1999.
  • 5. “Tenth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/54/688), December 21, 1999.
2000

Intermediate Implementation

Some locally-based women's groups formed parallel to the Coordinating Commission for the Women's Forum, gained legitimacy with local power structures, and had a tangible influence on policy decisions. The Presidential Secretariat for Women was established to advise and coordinate policies regarding protections and advancements for women.6

A scholarship program for girls in rural areas was established.7

Guatemala became signatory to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in September 2000.8

  • 6. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/175), July 26, 2000.
  • 7. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/973), June 1, 2001.
  • 8. “Twelfth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/56/273), August 8, 2001.
2001

Intermediate Implementation

The Congress has yet to reform the labor code to protect women's right to work. There are no legal protections against sexual harassment or discrimination against working mothers.9

The Presidential Secretariat for Women created the National Policy for the Promotion and Advancement of Guatemalan Women: Equal Opportunity Plan 2001-2006.10 Ministers and departmental governors took important steps to implement the policy.11

Guatemala ratified the Optional Protocol of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.12

  • 9. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/973), June 1, 2001.
  • 10. Ibid.
  • 11. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/1003), July 10, 2002.
  • 12. “Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women in the Context of the Implementation of the Millennium Development Goals,” United Nations Economic and Social Council (E/2010/60), May 7, 2010.
2002

Intermediate Implementation

Proposed changes to the labor code to protect women's rights were not found this year.13

  • 13. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/58/267), August 11, 2003.
2003

Intermediate Implementation

The legal code was modified to make gender discrimination illegal this year. Domestic violence, unequal opportunities, and political under-representation continued to be problems for Guatemalan women, however.14

  • 14. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/59/307), August 30, 2004.
2004

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2005

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2006

Intermediate Implementation

After MINUGUA completed its mandate, the new Guatemala contingent of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reported that violence against women remained widespread and perpetrators largely enjoyed impunity. Indigenous women were doubly discriminated against across the country.15

2007: The Government adopted the Coordinated Agenda for Maya, Garifuna and Xinka Women in 2007.16

2008: In 2008, women held 12% percent of Congressional seats and filled elected office in 2% of municipal councils and 6% of municipal corporations. In 2009, women made up 22% of Departmental Development Councils.17

  • 15. “Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Situation of Human Rights in Guatemala,” United Nations Economic and Social Council (E/CN.4/2006/10/Add.1), February 1, 2006.
  • 16. “Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women in the Context of the Implementation of the Millennium Development Goals,” United Nations Economic and Social Council (E/2010/60), May 7, 2010.
  • 17. “Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women in the Context of the Implementation of the Millennium Development Goals,” United Nations Economic and Social Council (E/2010/60), May 7, 2010.
Education Reform

Agreement on Identity and Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Mexico City, 31 March 1995)

III. Cultural Rights: G. Education reform

Implementation History
1997

Intermediate Implementation

The Government submitted the National Civic Education Program for Democracy and Peace, which incorporates commitments to education reform in the Agreement on Social and Economic Aspects and the Agrarian Situation, and is to be implemented by the Ministry of Education.1

The Government also established the Advisory Commission on Educational Reform, which included representatives from indigenous communities. Nearly 50,000 scholarships and study grants were provided to needy students. The civic education program moved from the planning phase to the implementation phase.2

  • 1. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/51/936), June 30, 1997.
  • 2. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/52/757), February 4, 1998.
1998

Intermediate Implementation

The National Program for Educational Self-Management (PRONADE) raised primary education coverage to 60% of the target set by the Agreements for the year 2000. The programs included little bilingual or intercultural education, even though the areas covered were mostly indigenous communities. The Department of Bilingual Education (DIGEBI) works with PRONADE, but only covers 15% of schools, and even those schools are only partially covered.3 Illiteracy was reduced from 37% in 1995 to 31.7% in 1998.4

  • 3. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/53/421), September 28, 1998.
  • 4. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/54/526), November 11, 1999.
1999

Intermediate Implementation

The Advisory Commission on Educational Reform facilitated discussion and worked toward consensus on broad educational reform. Whatever actual improvements occurred were relatively small and too slow to meet the benchmarks stipulated in the Agreements. The education system was not growing fast enough to meet the goal of access to at least three years of schooling for all children between the ages of 7 and 12, and there was a shortage of teachers. PRONADE did not improve bilingual coverage. The civic education program was poorly resourced and waning. All deficiencies in the Government's responsibilities for education were worst in rural areas and among indigenous populations.5

2000

Intermediate Implementation

Budget cuts eliminated funding for the out-of-school education program and training for school faculty and staff. No progress was made on the civic education program, which remained unfunded, and primary education coverage was too limited to meet the target set for it. On the other hand, the Ministry of Education announced new plans for 2000-2004, which included initiatives to reduce the illiteracy rate by 15% and experimental programs to teach Mayan languages and Spanish simultaneously.6

  • 6. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/175), July 26, 2000; “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/973), June 1, 2001.
2001

Intermediate Implementation

A curriculum was approved for pre-primary education, but no such curriculum was completed for other levels. The benchmark of full access to at least three years education for children between 7 and 12 years of age was not met. The education budget was cut further for 2001 and 2002, failing to live up to the expectations set forth in the Agreements.7

As of September 2001, the Ministry of Education had so far failed to implement comprehensive intercultural and bilingual education programs or improve indigenous communities' access to education at the levels stipulated by the agreements.8

  • 7. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/1003), July 10, 2002.
  • 8. “The Indigenous Peoples of Guatemala: Overcoming Discrimination in the Framework of the Peace Agreements, Verification Report," United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA), September 2001.
2002

Intermediate Implementation

While there was an increase in the budget for the Ministry of Education, actual spending on education was insufficient to increase coverage, improve infrastructure and implement all the reforms stipulated by the Agreements. One notable improvement was the opening of training institutes for bilingual teachers.9

Legislative Degree No. 81-2002 established the Education against Discrimination Act.10 Government Agreement No. 526-2003 established the Vice-Ministry for Bilingual Intercultural Education.

  • 9. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/58/267), August 11, 2003.
  • 10. “Information Received from Governments: Guatemala,” United Nations Economic and Social Council, Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (E/C.19/2010/12/Add.8), March 3, 2010.
2003

Intermediate Implementation

The teachers went on strike in early 2003. No proposals for long-term solutions were given.11

The rate of illiteracy was lowered to 30% as stipulated by the Peace Agreements. Bilingual and multicultural education programs, however, fell short of the goals set in the Agreements.12 Government Agreement No. 526-2003 established the Vice-Ministry for Bilingual Intercultural Education, and Ministerial Agreement No. 930-2003 of the Ministry of Education set out to respect indigenous dress in official and private establishments.13

  • 11. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/58/267), August 11, 2003.
  • 12. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/59/307), August 30, 2004.
  • 13. “Information Received from Governments: Guatemala,” United Nations Economic and Social Council, Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (E/C.19/2010/12/Add.8), March 3, 2010.
2004

Intermediate Implementation

Government Agreement No. 22-2004 expanded bilingual education and multiculturalism in the education system.14

2005

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2006

Intermediate Implementation

No new developments reported in 2006. Nevertheless, the government continued its effort to bring down illiteracy rate. This led to the establishment of  institutional mechanisms to promote and expand bilingual education and multiculturalism suggest that the provisions related to education were implemented to some extent. However, according to the State Department Human Rights Report, more than 50 percent of indigenous women were illiterate and a disproportionate number of indigenous girls did not attend school. The report, quoting the Guatemalan Ministry of Education, states that 78,692 preschool- and kindergarten-age indigenous children were enrolled in Spanish-indigenous language bilingual education programs.15

Official Language and Symbol

Agreement on Identity and Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Mexico City, 31 March 1995)

III. Cultural Rights: A. Language

Implementation History
1997

Minimum Implementation

The Government established the Commission for the Officialization of Indigenous Languages in April 1997.1

  • 1. “The Indigenous Peoples of Guatemala: Overcoming Discrimination in the Framework of the Peace Agreements, Verification Report," United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA), September 2001.
1998

Minimum Implementation

In March 1998, the Commission for the Officialization of Indigenous Languages presented a plan to recognize territorial, community and special languages at the regional level in all service sectors. These proposals were incorporated into the draft constitutional reforms and the Commission dissolved.2

1999

Minimum Implementation

The referendum for the full package of constitutional amendments occurred on 16 May 1999. With low turnout, voters denied the proposed amendments related to the redefinition of the nation and the formal recognition of indigenous peoples—including adding indigenous languages to Spanish as official languages of the country—along with all other proposed amendments. While this vote prevented the complete fulfillment of many components of the peace agreements, the parties to the agreements for their part showed good faith by drafting, submitting and approving the reforms. As provisions for improved rights and protections for indigenous peoples were featured prominently in the referendum, this outcome indicated that the country was far from reconciled after the formal end of the civil war.3

The Academy of Mayan Languages of Guatemala picked up the work of advocating to make indigenous languages official.4

  • 3. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/54/526), November 11, 1999.
  • 4. “The Indigenous Peoples of Guatemala: Overcoming Discrimination in the Framework of the Peace Agreements, Verification Report," United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA), September 2001.
2000

Minimum Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2001

Minimum Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2002

Minimum Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2003

Minimum Implementation

Legislative Decree No. 19-2003 established the National Languages Act, which was intended to promote the provision of bilingual public services. Government Agreement No. 526-2003 established the Vice-Ministry for Bilingual Intercultural Education.5

  • 5. “Information Received from Governments: Guatemala,” Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, United Nations Economic and Social Council (E/C.19/2010/12/Add.8), March 3, 2010.
2004

Minimum Implementation

Government Agreement No. 22-2004 expanded bilingual education.6

2005

Minimum Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2006

Minimum Implementation

Government officials in community offices often forced indigenous persons to converse in Spanish, despite the provisions in the National Languages Act.7 As such, implementing the indigenous language for government business purpose remained a problem. 

As of 2009, only 17% of judicial bodies in the country had Maya language interpreters.8

  • 7. “Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Situation of Human Rights in Guatemala,” United Nations Economic and Social Council (E/CN.4/2006/10/Add.1), February 1, 2006.
  • 8. “Information Received from Governments: Guatemala,” Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, United Nations Economic and Social Council (E/C.19/2010/12/Add.8), March 3, 2010.
Cultural Protections

Agreement on Identity and Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Mexico City, 31 March 1995)

III. Cultural Rights

1. Mayan culture is the original basis of Guatemalan culture and, in conjunction with the other indigenous cultures, is an active and dynamic factor in the development and progress of Guatemalan society.

Implementation History
1997

Minimum Implementation

The Government established a Commission to define indigenous groups' sacred places in April 1997.1

  • 1. “The Indigenous Peoples of Guatemala: Overcoming Discrimination in the Framework of the Peace Agreements, Verification Report," United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA), September 2001.
1998

Minimum Implementation

In August 1998, the Commission to define indigenous groups' sacred places reached an impasse and dissolved. After a long process of negotiation, the Commission was re-established.2

1999

Minimum Implementation

The referendum for the full package of constitutional amendments occurred on 16 May 1999. With low turnout, voters denied the proposed amendments related to the redefinition of the nation and the formal recognition of indigenous peoples—including cultural protections—along with all other proposed amendments. While this vote prevented the complete fulfillment of many components of the peace agreements, the parties to the agreements for their part showed good faith by drafting, submitting and approving the reforms. As provisions for improved rights and protections for indigenous peoples were featured prominently in the referendum, this outcome indicated that the country was far from reconciled after the formal end of the civil war.3

  • 3. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/54/526), November 11, 1999.
2000

Minimum Implementation

When the Commission for the Follow-up of the Peace Agreements agreed to move the final deadline for compliance from 2000 to 2004, it confirmed that most of the stipulations related to cultural protections for indigenous peoples were still pending. One important concern was the ongoing social marginalization of indigenous communities, which kept them from becoming more involved in the political, justice and education systems.4

  • 4. “The Indigenous Peoples of Guatemala: Overcoming Discrimination in the Framework of the Peace Agreements, Verification Report," United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA), September 2001.
2001

Minimum Implementation

By September 2001, only the Ministry of Education had recognized the right of indigenous persons to wear their traditional attire. However, the Ministry of Education had so far failed to implement comprehensive intercultural and bilingual education programs or improve indigenous communities' access to education at the levels stipulated by the agreements.5

2002

Minimum Implementation

The extended timetable for the implementation of the Agreements was yet unfulfilled. The Government made no effective moves to correct ongoing violations of the cultural rights of indigenous peoples.6

  • 6. “Thirteenth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/57/336), August 22, 2002.
2003

Intermediate Implementation

The Ministry of Education passed Ministerial Agreement No. 930-2003 to respect indigenous dress in official and private establishments.7

  • 7. “Information Received from Governments: Guatemala,” Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, United Nations Economic and Social Council (E/C.19/2010/12/Add.8), March 3, 2010.
2004

Intermediate Implementation

Ministerial Agreement No. 294-2004 made the drama Rabinal Achi' part of the cultural heritage of the nation.8

2005

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2006

Intermediate Implementation

Indigenous persons continued to be discriminated against in society. Traditional dress was still not accepted widely.9 As such, implementing cultural protection provisions of the accord is still a problem.

  • 9. “Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Situation of Human Rights in Guatemala,” United Nations Economic and Social Council (E/CN.4/2006/10/Add.1), February 1, 2006.
Media Reform

Agreement on Identity and Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Mexico City, 31 March 1995)

III. Cultural Rights: H. Mass media

Implementation History
1997

No Implementation

The accord contained provisions to reform the Radio Communication Law to make radio frequencies available for indigenous communities. No major developments were reported.

1998

No Implementation

No developments observed this year.

1999

Minimum Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2000

Minimum Implementation

Three community radio associations proposed legislation to grant equal access and use of radio frequencies.1

  • 1. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/973), June 1, 2001.
2001

Minimum Implementation

The Ministry of Communications, Infrastructure and Housing assigned two radio frequencies to the National Association for Communication, Culture, Art and Development and authorized it to share air time with local community groups. The community groups, however, rejected the move, arguing that it runs counter to their main objective of gaining legislative action for community radio.2

In compliance with the agreements, the television channel assigned for the Armed Forces was transferred to the Office of the President of the Republic.3

As of September 2001, provisions in the agreement to facilitate indigenous communities' access to communications media had not been implemented.4

  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Ibid.
  • 4. “The Indigenous Peoples of Guatemala: Overcoming Discrimination in the Framework of the Peace Agreements, Verification Report," United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA), September 2001.
2002

Minimum Implementation

The accord contained provisions to reform the Radio Communication Law to make radio frequencies available for indigenous communities. Instead of making radio frequencies available for indigenous communities, the government created a public auction system for radio frequencies. As a result, the community groups were outbid by commercial operators and therefore community’s access was severely limited.5

2003

Minimum Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2004

Minimum Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2005

Minimum Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2006

Minimum Implementation

No major developments were reported in 2006. In 2007, however, media (domestic and international) operated freely and expressed a wide variety of views without government restriction.6

Reparations

Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights (Mexico City, 19 March 1994)

VIII. Compensation and/or Assistance to the Victims of Human Rights Violations

Implementation History
1997

No Implementation

No developments observed this year.

1998

No Implementation

No developments observed this year.

1999

No Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2000

No Implementation

No substantive action was taken to implement the Government's commitment to compensate victims of human rights violations during the armed conflict.1

  • 1. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/973), June 1, 2001.
2001

Intermediate Implementation

The Peace Secretariat (SEPAZ) worked with the Multi-institutional Forum for Peace and Harmony on a “negotiating framework” to begin the process that would eventually lead to compensating victims. A few pilot reparation projects had been implemented, but not yet evaluated. The new Commission for Peace and Harmony was established by Governmental Agreement No. 263-2001 on 27 June. This commission was recommended by the Clarification Commission in order to implement the Government's commitments on reparations.2

Following a ruling by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights in 1999, the Guatemalan Government admitted responsibility for privately employed police officers who killed two children and injured a third in 1990, and paid the victims' families compensation.3

  • 2. “Twelfth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/56/273), August 8, 2001.
  • 3. “Guatemala,” Keesing's Record of World Events (Volume 47), January 2001, 43939.
2002

Intermediate Implementation

Despite the extended timetable for implementation, still no progress was made to provide compensation for the victims of the armed conflict.4

  • 4. “Thirteenth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/57/336), August 22, 2002.
2003

Intermediate Implementation

The Government created the National Reparations Commission, which was intended to be the main implementing body for the delivery of compensation to victims of the armed conflict.5

  • 5. “Fourteenth Report on Human Rights of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala,” United Nations General Assembly (A/58/566), November 10, 2003.
2004

Intermediate Implementation

The Guatemalan government provided funding for the National Reparations Program and appointed Rosalina Tuyuc, an indigenous leader, to oversee the Program. Compensation for victims of past human rights abuses had still not begun, however.6

  • 6. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/50/307), August 30, 2004.
2005

Intermediate Implementation

The Government restructured the National Reparations Program. It was being funded at a rate of 300 million quetzelas (about 37.5 million US dollars) per year for ten years, in keeping with the recommendations from the Clarification Commission.7

  • 7. “Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Situation of Human Rights in Guatemala,” United Nations Economic and Social Council (E/CN.4/2006/10/Add.1), February 1, 2006.
2006

Intermediate Implementation

After a ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the Government began to compensate relatives of those killed in the massacres of 1982.8

After President Alvaro Colom took office in January 2008, the Government made significant progress in delivering compensation to families of those killed during the civil war. Approximately 3,000 persons received reparations between January 2007 and May 2009, with payments ranging from $1,500 to $2,500 (USD). However, some 64,000 requests were still pending.9

  • 8. “Compensation for families of massacre victims,” Keesing's Record of World Events (Volume 52), February 2006, 47092.
  • 9. Anne-Marie O'Connor, “Payments and Apologies for Victims of Guatemala's Civil War,” The Washington Post, Suburban Edition, May 6, 2009, A06.
Economic and Social Development

Agreement on Social and Economic Aspects and the Agrarian Situation (Mexico City, 6 May 1996)

I. Democratization and Participatory Development: A. Participation and consensus-building

Implementation History
1997

Intermediate Implementation

The Ministry of Finance submitted a report on fiscal policy commitments on 10 April 1997. Included in the report were plans for a number of tax reforms designed to meet the stipulations in the Agreement on Social and Economic Aspects and the Agrarian Situation, especially to increase tax revenue to 12% of gross domestic product by the year 2000. On 16 April, the Government submitted plans for over 120 million US dollars in public investment for rural development, which surpassed the amount required by the Agreements.1

The Follow-up Commission accepted the Government's request to delay the process of amending the Urban and Rural Development Council Act. A lack of funding and coordination problems led to delays in initiating the national municipal training program. At 9% of GDP, the tax burden fulfilled and surpassed the level set by the Agreements for 1997 (8.6%), but the rate of public spending was much lower than projected. Some efforts were made to improve tax administration and enforcement, which was to be the main catalyst for increases in tax revenue stipulated in the Agreements. The Government also made strides toward the agricultural and rural development reforms specified by the Agreements, especially with resource allocations and land dispute resolution mechanisms. It also introduced legislation to establish the Land Trust Fund, and Congress approved the bill to change the name of the National Agricultural Development Bank (BANDESA) to the Rural Development Bank (BANRURAL) and restructure it according to the Agreements.2

Some institutional reforms were made in the health care sector, but officials did not fully internalize the reforms, spending fell short of budgeted amounts, and there was little evidence of improvement in public health in 1997.3

The Government gathered resources for the Guatemalan Housing Fund from tax revenues and a loan from the Inter-American Development Bank, which it planned to begin distributing in 1998. The Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare completed draft amendments to the Labor Code, but it did not include all the collective bargaining rights for agricultural workers stipulated by the Agreements.4

  • 1. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/51/936), June 30, 1997.
  • 2. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/52/757), February 4, 1998.
  • 3. Ibid.
  • 4. Ibid.
1998

Intermediate Implementation

Favorable macroeconomic performance in Guatemala facilitated the government's compliance with the Agreement on Social and Economic Aspects and the Agrarian Situation in 1998. Spending on basic social services increased and the economic and social infrastructure was generally improved, both of which contributed to increases in public investment and job creation. There was a deadlock between planning agencies over the municipal training program, but it was resolved, and municipal development councils built up their capacities. The Ministry of Agriculture began the process of policy reform and transitioning state institutions for agricultural and rural development. The Guatemalan Housing Fund (FOGUAVI) failed to meet its commitment to award at least half of its subsidies to the rural population, and spending on housing was generally below budget. FOGUAVI was also unnecessarily slow in responding to the issue of urban squatter settlements. The Ministry of Health worked on implementing the Integrated Health Care System (SIAS), but geographic coverage had a long way to go and inadequate vaccination coverage failed to contain outbreaks of preventable diseases. The Program of Access to Medicines (PROAM) was operating in compliance with the Agreements. Tax revenue grew, but not enough to meet the target of 10.4% of GDP for the year due to reductions in property taxes and tariffs. The Ministry of Finance revised projections for raising tax revenue to the stipulated 12% of GDP and convinced the Follow-up Commission to allow the target date to be pushed back from 2000 to 2002.5

The Ministry of Labor and Social Security adopted official policies in keeping with the Agreements, and the Labor Code was amended according to the draft submitted in 1997. While additional improvements were made in labor dispute settlement process, workers' rights to unionize were still impeded, the Ministry of Labor was still overly centralized, legislation had yet to be introduced for vocational and technical training programs, and resources were lacking to properly initiate the School for Labor Mediation and Conciliation.6

In mid-1998 the Follow-up Commission gave priority to fiscal and rural problems. Hurricane Mitch ravaged much of Central America in October 1998, shifting the focus of many of the development efforts to disaster relief and reconstruction.7

  • 5. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/53/421), September 28, 1998.
  • 6. Ibid.
  • 7. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/54/526), November 11, 1999.
1999

Intermediate Implementation

The Government undertook to respond appropriately to the damage from Hurricane Mitch without compromising its commitments to the implementation of the Peace Agreements. It succeeded in fulfilling its disaster response plans, but those efforts did in fact hinder progress in the economic and social development components of the Agreements.8

The Fiscal Pact Preparatory Commission was established in March 1998 to help reach the goal of raising tax revenue to 12% of GDP by 2002. The Congress approved the Land Trust Fund Act, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food set priorities and strategies for economic and social development in keeping with the Agreements. Real improvements were made in the equitable distribution of public investment between rural and urban areas. The Presidential Unit for Legal Assistance and Dispute Settlement in Land Matters (CONTIERRA) helped reduce conflicts over agricultural lands, but little progress was made in land registration and legislation had yet to be passed to clarify who has jurisdiction over undeveloped land.9

Public spending on health increased, both in absolute terms and in proportion to total public spending, which in turn improved the health infrastructure and health services coverage. The Ministry of Health and SIAS improved the cost-efficiency of their services and reached out to sectors of the population previously left without access to health care. However, health services still wanted for quality and public health indicators showed the rate of progress was not enough to meet all of the standards set by the Agreements. Infant mortality, for example, was supposed to be brought down to about 25 deaths per 1000 live births by the year 2000, but at the beginning of 1999 it was only down to 45 in 1000. Vaccination coverage was also still insufficient to prevent epidemics.10

Budget allocations for housing development reached the benchmark of 1.5% of annual tax revenue, thus fulfilling the commitment made in the Agreements. However, the services provided by FOGUAVI and FONAPAZ most directly benefited private industry and lacked quality control measures. Housing policies were also more generally failing to meet the purpose, as stipulated by the Agreements, of enabling poor people to have access to affordable housing in safe and sustainable condition.11

The Government did not make good progress with regard to labor laws, union protections and equitable vocational training. Labor union organizers faced harassment, threats and direct violence, even murder. The alleged perpetrators were either unknown or claimed to represent local citizens.12

2000

Intermediate Implementation

Following the rescheduling of the taxation target from 2000 to 2002, the Follow-up Commission spearheaded a consultative process involving many sectors of society, which culminated in the signing of the Fiscal Pact for a Future with Peace and Development. The Pact clarified the long-term plans the Government would need to follow in order to enact a fiscal policy in keeping with the Peace Agreements. A similar consultative process led by the Follow-up Commission established the Political Agreement for Funding Peace, Development and Democracy in Guatemala. This agreement added specific measures for tax reform and paved the way for further reform policies negotiated between the executive and legislative branches.13

The Government continued to falter in its implementation of policies related to rural development. No comprehensive rural development strategy was yet proposed, definitions of agrarian and environmental jurisdictions had not been set, the land registry issue was unresolved, and the land rights of indigenous communities were not codified. The Government did make some steps in the right direction with its environmental policies, but the agricultural policy it set for 2000-2004 lacked guarantees for multiculturalism, procedures to ensure indigenous peoples would be involved in decisions about their own development, and affirmative action programs for women and rural youth. By the end of 2000, BANRURAL increased its loan portfolio with a focus on areas most affected by the conflict.14

The Government did not invest nearly as much time and energy as was needed to address the country's labor problems. The main improvement was the increase in the minimum wage. The main corresponding problem was the Ministry of Labor had neither the financial resources nor the institutional capacity to ensure that historically exploited workers—indigenous persons, women, children and rural agricultural workers in general—would be treated fairly and paid their due wages.15

The new governmental authorities were quite slow in reviewing all the social development programs and hindered progress in so doing. The approved budget for public investment was cut by 20% and spending even fell short of budgeted amounts, which especially affected spending in the country's poorest areas. The spending reductions did not adversely affect public health programs. The new National Health Plan 2000-2004 set budgeted spending levels consistent with the Agreements, included measures to decentralize and improve coordination, and prioritized extending access to health care to groups previously unreached by the services, especially indigenous women and migrant workers.16

While adequate amounts were budgeted for housing development programs, FOGUAVI was deactivated and spending ceased, leading to a spike in unemployment among construction workers and growing discontent among the would-be beneficiaries of new housing.17

The network of local development councils was not living up to its intended purpose of engendering broad social participation in municipal and community projects. Despite reform measures enacted by the Executive Branch designed to foster local participation in the selection of leaders, gubernatorial candidates put forward by non-governmental members of development councils were largely sidelined.18

  • 13. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/175), July 26, 2000.
  • 14. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/175), July 26, 2000; “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/973), June 1, 2001.
  • 15. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/175), July 26, 2000.
  • 16. Ibid.
  • 17. Ibid.
  • 18. Ibid.
2001

Intermediate Implementation

The implementation of the peace agreements lagged in 2001 in general.19

The budget of the SIAS shrunk by 23% compared to the previous year, when it should have grown in order to stay on target for the expansion stipulated by the Agreements. Health care coverage was not yet extended to include migrant workers. The National Health Council was established in March 2001 to improve coordination in the provision of health services. In keeping with the Healthy Schools Plan, meal programs were initiated in 16,000 schools, but no action had yet been taken to combat malnutrition among children under the age of five. Likewise, vaccination coverage in children was still insufficient, and the water supply was unreliable in rural areas. The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare launched a program to provide reproductive health services across the country.20

A discussion set up by the Vice-Ministry led to an agreement between the Government and civil society leaders on a national housing and human settlements policy, which was approved in August 2001. It set clear priorities on resolving the housing shortage, especially among the country's poorest people. The Government pledged to reactivate FOGUAVI, but it did not yet create a budget to do so.21

The drop in international prices for some of Guatemala's main exports—most notably coffee—had a dramatic negative impact on local economic enterprise, especially for small and medium-sized farms, which were already struggling to compete against the large agricultural conglomerates in Guatemala. Income inequality continued on unmitigated, as the Ministry of Labor was still unable to enforce minimum wage laws. On the positive side, it did become easier to register trade unions and some consultation meetings produced draft legislation to bring the country's Labor Code into compliance with International Labor Organization standards.22

No significant progress was made toward comprehensive rural development. The rural populations continued to suffer from poverty and inequitable access to state resources. Reforms to improve land registry and clarify agrarian and environmental jurisdiction were further delayed. Displaced persons especially suffered from social exclusion and denied access to land. Whatever projects were implemented were piecemeal and short-sighted.23 The Land Trust Fund did not receive all of its budgeted funds.24

  • 19. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/1003), July 10, 2002.
  • 20. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/973), June 1, 2001.
  • 21. Ibid; “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/1003), July 10, 2002.
  • 22. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/973), June 1, 2001.
  • 23. Ibid.
  • 24. Ibid; “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/1003), July 10, 2002.
2002

Intermediate Implementation

A new program began to prevent childhood diseases. Vaccination coverage against measles and polio increased, and the latter was effectively eradicated.25

The budget approved for the Land Trust Fund was much lower than it requested, even though there was a high demand for credit. The shortage of loan resources caused tensions and confrontations. In April 2002, members of the National Council for Displaced Guatemalans occupied several offices of the Land Trust Fund to demand access to land and loans. The Follow-up Commission intervened and the Government made moves to increase the Land Trust Fund's budget.26

The issue of agrarian and environmental jurisdiction was finally addressed with the passage of an agrarian reform bill in Congress, but it was not yet implemented and some ambiguity about idle land remained. A Secretariat of Agrarian Affairs was also established. A land registry bill, endorsed by the Follow-up Commission, was also submitted and debated in Congress, but President Portillo withdrew it for revision. The lack of a coherent land registry system was a major hindrance to progress in rural development.27

The BANRURAL raised the credit and financial services offered substantially, but most of the poor in the rural areas could not get loans because they lacked titles to land.28

The recent moves to eliminate and prevent child labor were not enforced.29 The Social Security Institute did not as yet extend services to indigenous people.30

The Government failed to increase tax revenues to 12% of GDP, even though the deadline was extended from 2000 to 2002. The actual rate for 2002 was 10.6% of GDP. While the Government is held responsible for this failure to implement a component of the Peace Agreements, the private sector is also partly to blame for organizing resistance to tax increases.31

Congress passed the Urban and Rural Development Council Act with Legislative Decree No. 11-2002, and the General Decentralization Act with Decree No. 12-2002.32

  • 25. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/1003), July 10, 2002.
  • 26. Ibid.
  • 27. Ibid; “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/58/267), August 11, 2003.
  • 28. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/1003), July 10, 2002.
  • 29. Ibid.
  • 30. Ibid.
  • 31. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/58/267), August 11, 2003.
  • 32. “Information Received from Governments: Guatemala,” Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, United Nations Economic and Social Council, (E/C.19/2010/12/Add.8), March 3, 2010.
2003

Intermediate Implementation

A continuing decline in the price of coffee in the global market exacerbated the difficulty the agricultural sector in Guatemala was already experiencing since 2001. The Government agreed to fund a “coffee emergency” plan, which was designed to assist rural peasants by encouraging crop diversification and helping unemployed Guatemalans in rural areas acquire land.33

Overall, the 2003 budget improved over the previous year's budget, but there were some significant shortfalls. The Presidential Office for Legal Assistance and Dispute Settlement in Land Matters was defunded in the 2003 budget. The Government provided some temporary provisions, but the office staff and coverage area were severely cut. Budget allocations for the Land Trust Fund similarly fell below the amount set by the Agreements. The Ministry of Health also suffered cutbacks, resulting in reductions in basic preventive services, especially in rural and indigenous areas.34

Some core issues from the armed conflict were left unresolved due to the Government's incomplete implementation of the Peace Agreements. In particular, public services were deficient, rural development efforts did not significantly increase opportunities for rural communities, and many land conflicts were never resolved. Indicators of economic development showed no improvement in income disparity through the peace process, and an actual increase in extreme poverty toward the end of the implementation phase. Much of the failure to improve economic and social development resulted from lower than expected tax revenues and subsequent spending cuts.35

  • 33. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/58/267), August 11, 2003.
  • 34. Ibid.
  • 35. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/59/307), August 30, 2004.
2004

Intermediate Implementation

There was a sharp rise in violent land evictions, exacerbating humanitarian problems for rural communities.36

In June, the Mayan Farmers' Front organized a 48-hour strike to protest the forced eviction of landless rural workers from idle lands. As a result, President Berger announced a suspension of evictions and other concessions.37

The commitments regarding increasing tax revenue, expanding and improving public services, promoting development in rural areas especially, rejuvenating the public health system, and resolving land disputes were not fulfilled by the rescheduled deadline of 31 December 2004.

  • 36. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/59/746), March 18, 2005.
  • 37. “Guatemala,” Keesing's Record of World Events (Volume 50), June 2004, 46052.
2005

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2006

Intermediate Implementation

After years of attempted economic development, 57% of the population still lived in poverty, with 21% in extremely poor conditions. Guatemala had one of the worst rates of wealth inequality in the world.38 In 2006, President Berger embarked on a campaign to evict squatters from farmland they seized during the previous administration. One group of peasant farmers rose up and attempted to re-capture an estate by force after the owners fired hundreds of workers. At least five people were killed in the clash.39

  • 38. “Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Situation of Human Rights in Guatemala,” United Nations Economic and Social Council (E/CN.4/2006/10/Add.1), February 1, 2006.
  • 39. “Five Killed in Guatemala Clash over Land,” The Gazette (Montreal), July 10, 2006, A16.
Donor Support

Agreement on the Strengthening of Civilian Power and the Role of the Armed Forces in Democratic Society (Mexico City, 19 September 1996)

IV. Executive Branch: B. Public security

International cooperation

Implementation History
1997

Intermediate Implementation

The Secretary-General had established the Trust Fund for the Guatemalan Peace Process during early rounds of negotiations, and when the Agreement on a Firm and Lasting Peace was signed in 1996, the Secretariat and MINUGUA requested additional contributions from donors to help the Guatemalan Government implement the many new commitments. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) worked closely with MINUGUA during the initial fundraising phase.1

  • 1. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/59/746), March 18, 2005.
1998

Intermediate Implementation

Donor support continued this year.

1999

Intermediate Implementation

Donor support continued this year.

2000

Intermediate Implementation

Donor support continued this year.

2001

Intermediate Implementation

Donor support continued this year.

2002

Intermediate Implementation

Donor support continued this year. In addition to bi-lateral support, the Inter-American Development Bank and other institutions lent 1.3 billion US dollars to Guatemala to get the peace process back on track in 2002.2

  • 2. “Guatemala,” Keesing's Record of World Events (Volume 48), February 2002, 44608.
2003

Intermediate Implementation

Donor support continued this year.

2004

Full Implementation

By the time MINUGUA's mandate expired in 2004, donations to the Trust Fund totaled 19.8 million US dollars. The donors were Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States, and the following countries provided UN Volunteers: Belgium, France, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the UK. Forty-five percent of the funds were spent to improve the judiciary and human rights protections, twenty-one percent for public security (mainly the National Civilian Police), thirteen percent to the Program of Institutional Assistance for Legal Reform, ten percent for MINUGUA's public information programs, and seven percent for economic and social development. The balance of the Trust Fund was transferred to the National Transition Volunteer Programme when MINUGUA's mandate ended in late 2004.3

  • 3. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/59/746), March 18, 2005.
2005

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2006

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

Detailed Implementation Timeline

Agreement on the Implementation, Compliance and Verification Timetable for the Peace Agreements (Guatemala City, 29 December 1996)

II. Timetable for the 90 Days from 15 January 1997

A. Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights Compensation for and/or assistance to victims of human rights violations

Implementation History
1997

Minimum Implementation

The timeline of the Peace Agreements originally stipulated the end of 2000 as the deadline for compliance. In 1997, implementation process started slowly.

1998

Minimum Implementation

According to the verification report, the Government began to fall behind in 1998 in terms of meeting the deadline for implementation.1

  • 1. “Verification Report: Status of the Commitments of the Peace Agreements Relating to the Armed Forces,” United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA), May 2002; “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/389), September 14, 2000.
1999

Minimum Implementation

Government began to fall behind further in 1999 in terms of meeting the deadline for implementation.2

2000

Minimum Implementation

A requested for extension to meet the deadline was made and the Follow-up Commission rescheduled the final deadline for the last components for 2004.3

  • 3. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/389), September 14, 2000.
2001

Minimum Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2002

Minimum Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2003

Minimum Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2004

Minimum Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2005

Minimum Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2006

Minimum Implementation

Even with the extensions, many were left unfilled as of 2007.

Natural Resource Management

Agreement on Identity and Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Mexico City, 31 March 1995)

IV. Civil, Political, Social and Economic Rights

F. Rights relating to land of the indigenous peoples

Land tenure and use and administration of natural resources

6. The Government shall adopt or promote the following measures:

Implementation History
1997

Minimum Implementation

The Government of Guatemala established a coordinating body for compliance with stipulations from the Agreement on Social and Economic Aspects and the Agrarian Situation pertaining to land.1

  • 1. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/51/936), June 30, 1997.
1998

Minimum Implementation

Hurricane Mitch ravaged much of Central America in October 1998, and the absence of plans for the comprehensive management of Guatemalan lands and natural resources exacerbated the effects of the storm.2

  • 2. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/54/526), November 11, 1999.
1999

Minimum Implementation

Comprehensive land management plans were still lacking, leaving issues of conservation and sustainable use of natural resources ambiguous and perpetuating the risk of amplified damage in the event of another natural disaster like Hurricane Mitch.3

2000

Minimum Implementation

No major developments were reported related to natural resource uses.

2001

Minimum Implementation

The provisions in the Agreements for indigenous communities to own and manage their land were still not honored. While indigenous practices traditionally worked well for the sustainable use of natural resources, the Government's backward and ineffective rural development policies undermined both indigenous rights and a sustainable ecology.4

  • 4. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/973), June 1, 2001.
2002

Minimum Implementation

The Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources was established. The National Forestry Institute began a program to manage municipal forests, but indigenous communities and small-scale farmers did not have access to benefits through the program. The National Council for Protected Areas granted some important forestry management concessions to rural communities in the north, but it did little to improve the enfranchisement of marginalized indigenous communities.5

  • 5. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/55/1003), July 10, 2002.
2003

Minimum Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2004

Minimum Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2005

Minimum Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2006

Minimum Implementation

The Government agreed to step up efforts to preserve the nation's rain forests in exchange for debt forgiveness from the United States.6

2007: At most, the natural resource use provision of the accord was poorly implemented. Institutions established to redistribute land and provide indigenous people access to land were ineffective. Multinational corporations were established and exploited natural resources. These corporations, however, faced resistance in certain indigenous areas over the ownership and protection of natural resources.7  

  • 6. Marc Lacey, “U.S. To Cut Guatemala's Debt for Not Cutting Trees,” The New York Times, October 2, 2006, Section A:4.
  • 7. Maria Giovana Teijido and Wiebke Schram, "Guatemala’s Indigenous Women in Resistance: On the Frontline of the Community Struggle to Defend Mother Earth and her Natural Assets," PBI, May 2010, accessed May 29, 2012, http://www.pbi-guatemala.org/fileadmin/user_files/projects/guatemala/fil...17, 27.
Verification/Monitoring Mechanism

Comprehensive Agreement Human Rights (Mexico City, 19 March 1994)

X. International Verification by the United Nations

1. The Parties reaffirm the decision stated in the Framework Agreement of 10 January 1994 that all the agreements must be accompanied by appropriate national and international verification mechanisms, and that the latter must be the responsibility of the- United Nations.

Implementation History
1997

Full Implementation

The United Nations Mission for the Verification of Human Rights and of Compliance with the Commitments of the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights in Guatemala (MINUGUA) added military observers to verify the ceasefire signed on 4 December 1996. The 155 military observers were fully operational as of 3 March 1997, and after completing the verification of the ceasefire agreement, withdrew on 27 May.1 

  • 1. “Report of the Secretary-General on the Implementation of Resolution 1094 (1997),” United Nations Security Council (S/1997/123), February 13, 1997.
1998

Full Implementation

Verification mission continued its works. No other significant developments reported.

1999

Full Implementation

With the withdrawal of military observers, MINUGUA shifted from a primary concern with seeing the formal end of the armed conflict to focus on the final implementation of all components of the peace agreement, scheduled to be complete by the end of 2000. It combined verification operations with direct support programs, public information, facilitation of financial contributions, and providing good offices.2

  • 2. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/59/746), March 18, 2005.
2000

Full Implementation

The number of MINUGUA personnel peaked at 532 in 2000. The Agreement on a Firm and Lasting Peace and the Agreement on the Implementation, Compliance and Verification of the Time Table for the Peace Agreements originally stipulated that the commitments must be fulfilled by 31 December 2000, but progress was far too slow to hit that benchmark. When the Follow-up Commission extended the deadline for implementation 2003, MINUGUA also extended its mandate.3

2001

Full Implementation

Verification mission continued its works. No other significant developments reported.

2002

Full Implementation

No further developments observed this year.

2003

Full Implementation

After further delays in the implementation of the agreements, MINUGUA again extended its mandate through 2004. In preparation for its transition out of the country, MINUGUA carried out intensive capacity-building programs for the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman and special on-the-job training for 60 young Guatemalan professionals to become United Nations Volunteers.4

2004

Full Implementation

MINUGUA phased-out its operations throughout the year, focusing on preparing Guatemalan officials to see the letter and spirit of the agreements fulfilled. It officially completed its mission on 15 November 2004, ten years after first entering Guatemala to verify the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights. A small contingency of staff was left behind to finalize the mission's exit.5

2005

Full Implementation

The last contingency of UN staff completed the liquidation process in March 2005. The remaining balance of the Trust Fund was given over to the National Transition Volunteer Program.6

2006

Full Implementation

With the liquidation of the UN mission in Guatemala in March 2005, the international or UN verification provision of the accord was implemented. 

Please always cite: Peace Accords Matrix (Date of retrieval: (09/25/2017),
http://peaceaccords.nd.edu/accord/accord-firm-and-lasting-peace,
Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame.