PBI-Guatemala attends exhumation by the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation and CONAVIGUA

Published by Brent Patterson on

On October 6, the Peace Brigades International-Guatemala Project posted, “Last week we attended an exhumation with Conavigua Guatemala [the National Coordination of Widows of Guatemala] and Fundación de Antropología Forense de Guatemala-Fafg [the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation].”

Conavigua Guatemala adds, “The excavation and exhumation of 2 victims from the internal armed conflict in 1982 was carried out from September 25 to 28 of this year, in the Carrizal community of the municipality of Chiché el Quiché.”

That post poignantly notes, “37 years of waiting and searching and surviving family members finally manage to recover the remains of the victims.”

Global Ministries has explained, “CONAVIGUA was founded in 1988 as a response to the suffering of women in rural areas amid the internal armed conflict of Guatemala. The widows of CONAVIGUA were women whose husbands, sons, and daughters had been either killed or had disappeared during Guatemala’s civil war.”

In December 2017, the CBC’s Brent Bambury reported, “Guatemala’s civil war ended in 1996, but it raged for 27 years. In that time, 200,000 civilians were killed by their own government, police or military. The vast majority of those victims were Indigenous.”

“[Fredy Peccerelli] and the organization he co-founded, the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation, have uncovered the remains of 10,000 people.”

“Peccerelli’s own family barely escaped the junta. In 1980, his father, a lawyer, was targeted and the family fled to New York. Fredy was nine.”

“Using DNA technology and records kept by the regime, Peccerelli and his team identify the remains, and when possible, return them to the families that have been searching for their loved ones since the day they disappeared.”

“In the documentary film Granito: How to Nail a Dictator, Peccerelli reads aloud a threat addressed to him and other forensic anthropologists in Guatemala.”

“Peccerelli believes if his organization capitulated to threats, it would prolong the suffering of those he’s fighting for.”

On August 30, 2019, Aljazeera reported, “A non-governmental organisation using forensic sciences in pursuit of human rights, FAFG got its start in 1992. For years, its work was primarily focused on the exhumation and identification of massacre victims, but in 2004 the foundation began focusing on the search for the disappeared.”

“Over the course of several years, the foundation exhumed the remains of 565 people, including at least 90 children, from clandestine mass grave sites within the Creompaz military base just outside Coban, 170km north of Guatemala City.”

For more on CREOMPAZ, please see PBI-Guatemala accompanies BDH at CREOMPAZ hearing and PBI-Guatemala accompanies community that seeks return of its land now occupied by a Canadian-backed military base.

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