On 25 March, Gladys Monterroso, a well-known Guatemalan lawyer, professor and politician, was abducted from a restaurant in
Monterroso who is also in charge of the women’s arm of the Encuentro por
Morales released the Special Report of the Historical Archives of the National Police: the Right to Know on 24 March, in an historic act paving the way for reconciliation in
The archives contain vital information on police involvement in torture, enforced disappearances and other abuses. This archival evidence has already resulted in the recent detention of two former members of a police unit, implicated in death squad activities during the conflict.
It is estimated that up to 250,000 people disappeared or were killed between 1960 and 1996, and it is believed that the Guatemalan military and police 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.
Many of the victims of abuses were women who were systematically subject to rape, mutilation and sexual attack. Sergio Morales’ office has also consistently reported that violent attacks against women remain high in
Although no-one has claimed responsibility for the attack on Gladys Monterroso, there is a widespread belief among human rights organisations and the Special Prosecutor’s office that this event was directly linked to her husband’s work and, particularly, the aforementioned report.
"ARTICLE 19 believes that the abduction and torture of Gladys Monterroso is both cowardly and despicable,” states Dr Agnès Callamard, ARTICLE 19 Executive Director. “It is a sad and tragic reminder that the past is the present and also probably the future, as long as impunity prevails. Those responsible for the attack must be found and prosecuted. ARTICLE 19 sends Ms Monterroso our deepest sympathy and solidarity and salutes her immense courage.”
“Guatemalans have the right to know the truth about their past,” continues Callamard. “It is both a fundamental human right and a psychological necessity for the victims of abuses. It is also essential for the country’s healing process and democratic evolution.”
ARTICLE 19 celebrates the publication of this report and expresses support for the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Human Rights, as they engage in the process of transitional justice for
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
For more information contact Ricardo González, ARTICLE 19 Freedom of Expression Programme Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org or +52 55 1054 6400.