Diakonia - People change the world


Diakonia is involved in strengthening civil society organizations in Guatemala. Since the internal armed conflict Diakonia supports human rights and humanitarian work in the country. A Peace Accord was signed in 1996 and since then focus has increasingly been to work in democratic participation, human rights and gender equality to achieve a sustainable peace culture at all levels.


Focus areas in Guatemala

The thematic areas of the programme in Guatemala are: collective rights of indigenous people, specific rights of women and youth, ethnic and gender identity, sexual and reproductive rights, prevention of violence against women and youth, prevention of HIV and AIDS, access to justice and combatting impunity. Within this, the promotion of a multi-cultural co-existence and affirmative action for gender equality are mainstreamed in all of Diakonia's activities and work.

Ríos Montt convicted

After he was accused of being responsible for the genocide of the Ixil population in 1982-1983, Guatemala's former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt was put to trial and convicted for the crime in May 2013. The sentence has however been dismissed since.

Diakonia's partner organizations CALDH (Centro Para la Acción Legal en Derechos Humanos) and AJR (Asociación para la Justicia y Reconciliación) have for 15 years been advocating for the trial to take place. During the trial, they provided judicial support to plaintiffs and engaged citizens to advocate for justice to prevail.

More results of our work

Apart from the work of CALDH and AJR, Diakonia's partner organization Ixmukané, also plays an important role in promoting human rights. Our partner organization Ixmukané has through advocacy strengthened women’s rights and their ability to speak up and participate in public decision making processes.

Another example comes from our partner organization Nuevos Horizontes, which has succeeded in bringing in a municipality agreement that establishes the participation of 40 per cent women in the Community Development Councils.

Peace Accord in 1996

Guatemala is a country in which the indigenous people Maya co-exist with the Garífuna, Xinca and Mestizo. In 1996 a Peace Accord was signed that put an end to the internal armed conflict, which lasted more than 36 years, and this raised expectations for the creation of democracy and the recognition of the country's multicultural, multilingual and multiethnic character. 

Prevalent macho culture

Guatemala is a typical macho culture, heavily wounded by violence. The civil war has left deep scars and Guatemalan women are especially exposed. In Guatemala more women (per capita) are murdered than anywhere else in the world (2009), and the murders, the so-called “femicidios”, are characterized by raw brutality and hatred towards women.

Read more about our work in Guatemala