Magazine article UN Chronicle

'Many Forms of Rights Violations'

Magazine article UN Chronicle

'Many Forms of Rights Violations'

Article excerpt

Violence and disappearances were an alarming feature of the current scene in Guatemala, says a report on the situation of human rights in that country by Viscount Colville of Culross, a Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights (E/CN.4/1985/19). The report was reviewed by the Commission during its 1985 annual session held at Geneva from 4 February to 15 March.

"A great variety of people are affected, but members of political parties, staff and students at, particularly, the University of San Carlos and trade unionists are among the victims", the report said. "Whoever may be responsible, many forms of human rights violations are involved."

The Government, the report stated, should urgently seek to prevent those occurrences and to bring to justice those who had perpetrated such acts in the past. The three-man Commission charged with investigating disappearances should act with "full vigour" and should be given full cooperation, "not least from the DIT and BROE units of the police and the G2 unit of the army against whom many of the allegations are made". Families of the disappeared should supply the Commission--consisting of the Attorney-General, the minister of the Interior (Gobernacion) and the Vice-Minister of Defence--with all information in their possession.

Allegations about disappearances from various sources indicated four broad groups as being responsible: the security forces, the guerrillas, common criminals and "some types of private organizations consisting of police and military when off duty and/or right-wing political groups".

The report said "very many" refugees remained in Mexico and were in the process of being moved away from the immediate vicinity of the border. (In MArch 1984 there were 46,000 officially recognized refugees from Guatemala in Mexico.) A "certain number" of those refugees had returned to Guatemala and were being resettled. Smaller numbers, who showed little inclination to return, were to be found in Honduras and Belize. Internal refugees--displaced persons--continued to come out of hiding and were being resettled. Amnesties had been continued and were still current. About 8,000 persons had taken advantage of them since they were started. Refugees in all the surrounding countries, but particularly in Mexico, should be supplied with "full and trustworthy" information, on a continuing basis, about the situation in Guatemala. …

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