1995/51. Assistance to Guatemala in the field of human rights

The Commission on Human Rights,

Guided by the principles embodied in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenants on Human Rights,

Reiterating that the Governments of all Member States have an obligation to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, even under exceptional circumstances,

Recalling its resolution 1994/58 of 4 March 1994,

Taking into account Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities resolution 1994/23 of 25 August 1994,

Having considered the reports of the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture (E/CN.4/1995/34), the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (E/CN.4/1995/36) and the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (E/CN.4/1995/61 and Add.1),

Having considered also the report of the independent expert, Mrs. Mónica Pinto (E/CN.4/1995/15), and studied the conclusions and recommendations contained therein,

Taking into account the fact that the continuation of the internal armed conflict is a factor affecting the human rights situation in Guatemala,

Taking note of the legal and institutional reforms introduced by the Government with a view to combating impunity and guaranteeing full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms for everyone in Guatemala,

Concerned nevertheless by the fact that, despite those reforms, there continue to be serious human rights violations in Guatemala, attributed mainly to members of the armed forces and security forces and to the so-called voluntary civil self-defence committees,

Concerned also by the fact that situations of impunity continue to exist and that, in cases of human rights violations, there has not been sufficient progress in the investigations and/or judicial proceedings,

Regretting the human rights violations, marginalization and centuries-old discrimination that have been suffered by the indigenous populations in Guatemala,

Considering that the economic and social situation continues to have serious consequences for the great majority of the population, particularly for the indigenous populations and the most vulnerable sectors of Guatemalan society, such as displaced persons, elderly persons, women and children,

Taking note of the establishment of the Guatemalan Indigenous Development Fund with the aim of supporting and reinforcing the process of human development of the indigenous populations,

Taking note with satisfaction of the Framework Agreement for the resumption of the peace negotiations between the Government of Guatemala and the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca, signed in Mexico City on 10 January 1994, and of the other agreements reached within the process of peace negotiations, particularly the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights signed in Mexico City on 29 March 1994, the Agreement on Resettlement of the Population Groups Uprooted by the Armed Conflict, signed in Oslo on 17 June 1994, and 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, signed in Oslo on 23 June 1994,

Recognizing the importance of the establishment, on 21 November 1994, of the United Nations Mission for the Verification of Human Rights and of Compliance with the Commitments of the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights in Guatemala (MINUGUA), in accordance with General Assembly resolution 48/267 of 19 September 1994,

Taking note of the establishment of the Technical Commission provided for in the Agreement on Resettlement of the Population Groups Uprooted by the Armed Conflict, in which representatives of the groups affected participate, and of the resettlement of some groups of internally displaced persons that has already taken place,

Taking note also of the continuation of the process of voluntary return of refugees initiated in 1993,

Concerned by the suspension of the peace negotiations between the Government of Guatemala and the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca, which has induced the Secretary-General of the United Nations to urge a resumption of the process and a prompt cease-fire and to submit proposals to that end,

Expressing the hope that the will shown by the Government and by the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca will lead to the reactivation of the process, the signing of agreements on all pending subjects, a prompt end to the internal armed conflict and the establishment of a firm and lasting peace,

Recognizing the importance of the role played by the representative of the Secretary-General as moderator in these negotiations, of the participation of the Group of Friendly Countries composed of Colombia, Mexico, Norway, Spain, the United States of America and Venezuela, and of the valuable contributions of the Civil-Society Assembly, on the terms established in the Framework Agreement,

Considering that it is necessary for the international community to continue to keep the human rights situation in Guatemala under review and to provide advisory services in the field of human rights, as well as technical and financial assistance, with the aim of promoting full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and supporting the efforts of the Government and people of Guatemala to that end,

1. Takes note with appreciation of the report of the independent expert (E/CN.4/1995/15) and the conclusions and recommendations contained therein;

2. Expresses its gratitude to the Government of Guatemala for the facilities and cooperation afforded to the independent expert in the fulfilment of her mandate;

3. Recognizes the efforts made by the Government of Guatemala and encourages it to apply the necessary urgent measures to consolidate democratic institutions and to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, taking into account the recommendations of the independent expert and the contributions of MINUGUA;

4. Regrets that, notwithstanding these efforts, serious violations of human rights persist, particularly violations of the right to life and threats and intimidation against the physical integrity of individuals;

5. Urges both parties to respect the applicable rules of international humanitarian law in the internal armed conflict and to refrain from any activities that may endanger the rights of the great majority of Guatemalans who are not involved in this conflict and affect the physical security of the civilian population and that of their property;

6. Exhorts the Government of Guatemala to continue to adopt and apply the necessary legal and political measures to strengthen the independence of the judiciary and respect for its decisions;

7. Also exhorts the Government of Guatemala to intensify investigations enabling all those responsible for violations of human rights to be identified and brought to justice, to provide compensation for the victims of such violations within a legal framework, to ensure that the judicial system can operate with due protection being afforded to judges, investigators, witnesses and relatives of victims, and to facilitate the activities of organizations, both official and non-governmental, concerned with the promotion and protection of human rights;

8. Further exhorts the Government of Guatemala, within the framework of its general human rights policy, to continue to apply the independent expert's recommendations, in particular those relating to a police system answerable to the civilian authorities and, in accordance with the criteria established in the peace negotiations, to the abolition of the system of voluntary civil self-defence committees;

9. Notes with satisfaction the decision of the Government of Guatemala to suspend forcible military recruitment while the Congress of the Republic

adopts at the earliest possible date the law regulating the performance of military service and definitively eliminating arbitrary recruitment practices;

10. Again appeals to the Government of Guatemala to ensure that all authorities, including the armed forces and security forces, fully respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the Guatemalan people, and welcomes the inclusion, in the curricula and training programmes for personnel of the armed forces and security forces, of the constitutional provisions and the international commitments undertaken by the Government of Guatemala in the field of human rights;

11. Takes note of the legal and institutional reforms which the Government of Guatemala has introduced in the system for the administration of justice in order to put an end to violence and impunity, including the entry into force of the new Code of Criminal Procedure, and encourages it to pay particular attention to the legal standards guaranteeing the rights and freedoms of the indigenous populations and the most vulnerable sectors of society;

12. Expresses its conviction that the pre-eminence of civilian authority in the national decision-making process is an indispensable condition for the consolidation of the rule of law and the full realization of human rights, and invites the Government to take into account the independent expert's recommendations to that end;

13. Recognizes the positive work done in defence of human rights by the Human Rights Procurator and exhorts the Government to give him support and to guarantee the conditions for the strengthening of his activities, inter alia, through the adoption of legislative measures to enable him to participate in proceedings relating to human rights violations;

14. Encourages the Government of Guatemala to provide the requisite facilities and adopt the necessary measures to ensure that the Presidential Commission for Coordinating Executive Policy in the Field of Human Rights is the focal point for the coordination of the Government's efforts to comply with its international commitments in the field of human rights;

15. Exhorts the Government of Guatemala to adopt concrete measures against extreme poverty that will enable the population to attain better living standards, giving priority to economic and social development programmes, and to strengthen policies and programmes concerning Guatemala's indigenous populations, taking into account their proposals and aspirations, together with the independent expert's recommendations on the subject;

16. Takes note of the continuation of the refugee repatriation process, urges the competent authorities to ensure that this process continues with full consideration for the well-being and dignity of all affected persons, providing the necessary facilities for their prompt resettlement, and urges the parties concerned to comply strictly with the agreements reached on the subject since October 1992;

17. Urges the Government of Guatemala to continue to assist the civilian population displaced by the internal armed conflict and to facilitate its resettlement, on the basis of the recommendations of the Technical Commission provided for in the Agreement on Resettlement of the Population Groups Uprooted by the Armed Conflict;

18. Invites the Government of Guatemala to consider the earliest possible ratification of the international human rights instruments to which it is not yet a party, in particular the International Labour Organization's Convention No. 169 concerning indigenous and tribal peoples in independent countries;

19. Expresses its satisfaction at the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights of 29 March 1994 and the establishment of the Mission for the Verification of Human Rights and of Compliance with the Commitments of the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights in Guatemala;

20. Urges the parties to comply fully with the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and expresses its confidence that the establishment of the MINUGUA will contribute to the improvement of the situation of the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of all Guatemalans;

21. Commends the work of the representative of the Secretary-General as moderator, the efforts of the Group of Friendly Countries to advance the peace process in Guatemala and the valuable contributions of the Civil-Society Assembly;

22. Urges the Government of Guatemala and the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca to resume the negotiations as soon as possible, including the preparation of a new timetable in order to reach agreements on all pending items on the agenda, with the corresponding mechanisms for verification;

23. Expresses the hope that the negotiations between the Government of Guatemala and the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca will, in accordance with the new timetable, lead to a prompt cease-fire and the signing of a firm and lasting peace agreement as early as possible in 1995;

24. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to provide the Government of Guatemala with advisory services in the field of human rights and to develop specific programmes taking account of non-governmental organizations;

25. Also requests the Secretary-General to extend the mandate of the independent expert so that, taking into account the work of MINUGUA, she may continue to examine the situation of human rights in Guatemala, provide assistance to the Government in the field of human rights, and submit to the Commission at its fifty-second session a report evaluating the measures taken by the Government in accordance with the recommendations made to it;

26. Decides to consider the question at its fifty-second session under the appropriate agenda item, in the light of the report of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in Guatemala.
53rd meeting
3 March 1995
[Adopted without a vote. See chap. XXI. E/CN.4/1995/176]


HOME | SITE MAP | SEARCH | INDEX | DOCUMENTS | TREATIES | MEETINGS | PRESS | STATEMENTS



© Copyright 1996-2000
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Geneva, Switzerland