Practice Relating to Rule 98. Enforced Disappearance
Section C. Investigation of enforced disappearance
In 2006, in its initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, Guatemala stated:
Peace and Concord Commission.
In accordance with the 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 (the Commission for Historical Clarification), signed on 23 June 1994, and pursuant to Government Order No. 263-2001, the Peace and Concord Commission was established to promote and enhance peace and concord and to coordinate reconciliation efforts. Its mandate includes encouraging and assisting efforts to determine where and under what circumstances persons detained during the internal armed conflict disappeared or died.
Guatemala also stated:
188. The objectives of the [National] [C]ommission [on the Tracing of Children who Disappeared during the Internal Armed Conflict] are to discover and reveal the truth in cases of disappeared children in Guatemala; to promote and support efforts in the areas of documentation, searches and family reunification; and to promote and support action to achieve justice and compensation.
189. Progress made since the establishment of the Commission includes: (a) 1,280 cases documented; (b) 324 cases resolved; (c) 131 family reunifications; (d) 108 exhumations; (e) 85 pending cases of family reunification; (f) 1,000 cases of psychological and social counselling; (g) 600 cases of ongoing psychological and social counselling; and (h) 16 family committees organized to search for disappeared children.
190. Qualitative progress includes: (a) family members are now confident to speak out on the issue; (b) there is solidarity among families at the national level, and cooperation at the international level; (c) the issue of disappeared children and their rights is receiving attention; (d) multiculturalism is respected; (e) there is coordination between and within institutions with regard to the National Compensation Programme and the National Compensation Commission; and (f) new technologies are being used in investigations.
191. Among the obstacles faced by the Commission is the lack of scientific tools, finance and access to information.
192. In late 2005, the Office of the President of the Republic, through the Presidential Human Rights Commission, launched a proposal to establish a national mechanism to search for persons who disappeared during the armed conflict. The proposal has been discussed by working groups comprising representatives of government offices and bodies, the Office of the Human Rights Procurator and civil society organizations. The proposal that has emerged from this process of discussion, dialogue and consensus-building is currently with the Office of the President, awaiting final approval.