On March 25, 2009, Gladys Monterroso, a well-known Guatemalan lawyer, professor and politician, was abducted from a restaurant in Guatemala City by unidentified assailants. This abduction and torture took place less than a day after her husband Sergio Morales who is Guatemalan Special Prosecutor for Human Rights published the Special Report of the Historical Archives of the National Police: the Right to Know. The report records the contents of 80 million documents dating from 1960 to 1996, discovered in police archives four years ago.
Dr. Monterroso was released following 13 hours of torture. Between 1960 and 1996 as many as 250,000 people (many of them women) disappeared or were killed. It is widely believed that Guatemalan military and police officers were responsible for the majority of abuses. To date, no high-ranking member of the military or government has been brought to justice for human rights violations.
This violent attack against Monterroso, reminiscent of tactics used during Guatemala's 36-year civil war, may have been intended to obstruct the search for justice for mass atrocities committed during that war.
Take action now to urge the Guatemalan government and in particular their Attorney General to identify and prosecute those individuals responsible for the kidnapping and abuse of Gladys Monterroso.
Photo by Heidi McKinnon of the Advocacy Project shows survivors using a memorial quilt to seek reparations. Jan 28, 2009.
- The President of the United States
To: State Department and U.S. Embassy Officials in Guatemala
From: Maureen Meyer, Washington Office on Latin America; Andrew Hudson, Human Rights First*; Amanda Martin, Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA; Jennifer DeLury Ciplet, Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala; Erin Kliewer, STITCH; Travis Wheeler and Lisa Haugaard, Latin America Working Group Education Fund.
Re: Guatemala Policy As the Obama Administration defines its Western Hemisphere policies, we believe that U.S. policy towards Guatemala should strengthen its focus on human rights. Particular attention should be paid to bringing the perpetrators of mass atrocities to justice, protecting human rights defenders, strengthening labor rights, and supporting the efforts of the International Commission against impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) to investigate and prosecute organized crime and develop Guatemalan judicial capacities to address this escalating problem.
For the complete list of recommendations to the Obama Administration, go to
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