PBI-Guatemala accompanies National Day for the Dignification of the Victims of the Armed Conflict

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On February 26, the Peace Brigades International-Guatemala Project noted that it had accompanied the National Day for the Dignification of the Victims of the Armed Conflict march and posted on its Facebook page a series of photos from the day.

The Guatemalan daily newspaper El Periodico reports, “On Tuesday [February 25], several activities were held in different parts of [Guatemala City] for the National Day of the Dignification of the Victims of the Armed Conflict.”

“Relatives of people who disappeared during the internal war took a tour of the streets in zone 1. They carried photographs of people whose whereabouts are still unknown 23 years after the Peace Accords were signed.”

“[There was also a tribute to] student leader Oliverio Castañeda de León, who was murdered on October 20, 1978. They placed flowers and candles in the place at the entrance of the Passage Rubio, Sixth Avenue of Zone 1.”

That article also notes, “Several organizations requested the approval of bill 35-90 for the creation of the Commission for the Search of Victims of Forced Disappearance and other Forms of Disappearance.”

The 36-year-long war (internal armed conflict) in Guatemala began in November 1960 (after a US-backed coup in June 1954) and ended in December 1996 with signing of the Agreement for a Firm and Lasting Peace.

The Commission for Historical Clarification (CEH) has stated that over 200,000 people were killed or disappeared during the conflict and attributed 93 per cent of the violations to state forces and related paramilitary groups. The CEH also found that 83 per cent of “fully identified” victims were Indigenous Mayan peoples.

The BBC has reported that the land reform that began in Guatemala in June 1952 was stopped by the coup in June 1954.

The Guardian adds, “A peace agreement in 1996 should have led to land redistribution, but a handful of powerful families still dominates the economy, and Guatemala remains one of the world’s least equal and most violent countries, with the largest 2.5% of farms occupying more than 65% of the land.”

“Economic integration forced on Guatemala by the US and global bodies have further opened the country to foreign-backed mining, hydro and other extractive industries, forcing more evictions of indigenous peoples and leading to more violence and inequality.”

Peace Brigades International accompanies 10 organizations in Guatemala with 10 international volunteers based in Guatemala City.

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