Diakonia has worked in Guatemala since the internal armed conflict, supporting humanitarian and human rights work with civil society organisations. With the Peace Accords the 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 of our work in Guatemala
The thematic areas of the programme in Guatemala are: collective rights of the indigenous peoples, specific rights of women and youth, ethnic and gender identity, sexual and reproductive rights, prevention of violence against women, prevention of violence against youths, prevention of HIV and AIDS, access to justice and combatting impunity. Within this, the promotion of a multi-cultural coexistence 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 the one responsible for the genocide of the Ixil population in 1982-1983, Guatemala's former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt were put to trial and convicted for the crime in May 2013. The sentence have however been dismissed since.
Diakonia's partner organizations CALDH and AJR have for 15 years been advocatiung 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 other partner organization also plays an important role in promoting human rights. Our partner Ixmukané has through advocacy against the municiplaity of Cunen supported a productive project for women, which has strengthened their ability to speak up in the region.
Another example comes from our partner organization Nuevo Horizonte, which has succeeded in bringing in a municipality agreement that establishes the participation of 40% women in the Community Development Councils.
Peace agreement in 1996
Guatemala is a country in which the indigenous people Maya coexist with the Garífuna, Xinca and Mestizo. In 1996 a Peace Agreement 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.
Vilma Siney is a changemaker in Diakonia's partner organization ADH, where she breaks taboos by talking about sex and women's rights to the village women.