Canada Committed to Peace, Justice and Security in Guatemala

(No. 177 - June 23, 2011 - 5:20 p.m. ET) The Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs), today announced a $7.1-million contribution to strengthen judicial and security sectors in Guatemala.

"Guatemala is an important partner for Canada in Central America, and we are particularly concerned about the country’s deteriorating security situation,” said Minister of State Ablonczy. "This contribution reflects Canada’s sustained commitment to Guatemala in its fight against crime and lack of security by supporting a range of Guatemalan institutions working to strengthen the delivery of security and justice."

Canada’s contribution is funded by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada through the Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force’s (START’s) Global Peace and Security Fund (GPSF) and the Anti-Crime Capacity-Building Program (ACCBP).

This contribution includes $4.6 million from the GPSF and $2.59 million from the ACCBP and will support a number of projects being implemented by a variety of international and Canadian organizations to reform and strengthen security and justice institutions in Guatemala.

The Global Peace and Security Fund is managed by START, which leads Canada’s coordinated approach to acutely fragile and crisis-affected countries. The fund provides financial and operational resources that contribute to conflict prevention and peacebuilding, including justice and security system reform initiatives. Since START’s creation, $113 million of the fund has been contributed to initiatives in the Americas that promote peace and security, human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Guatemala, along with Haiti and Colombia, is a GPSF priority country.

Established in 2009, the Anti-Crime Capacity-Building Program provides up to $15 million a year to enhance the capacity of beneficiary states, international organizations and non-governmental entities to prevent and respond to threats posed by transnational criminal activity throughout the Americas. In Central America and the Caribbean, the program focuses on preventing illicit drug trafficking, reforming the security sector and preventing crime.

Minister of State Ablonczy made the announcement from Guatemala, where she is attending the International Conference in Support of the Central America Security Strategy.

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A backgrounder follows.

For further information, media representatives may contact:

John Babcock
Senior Communications Adviser
Office of the Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs)

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
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Backgrounder - Funding for Peace and Security Projects in Guatemala

The Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs), today announced the following projects funded by the Global Peace and Security Fund (GPSF) and the Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program (ACCBP):

1. Strengthening Legal Representation for Strategic Human Rights Litigation

This project supports access to justice for vulnerable groups, including victims of crime and human rights defenders. One of its main objectives is to establish a collective of Guatemalan lawyers working on human rights issues and improving the capacity of the Attorney‑General’s Office to process these cases. This initiative complements the efforts of the UN International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) by advancing representative cases that fall outside CICIG’s mandate and supporting a community legal aid clinic that provides greater access to justice for vulnerable and marginalized populations. Canada’s contribution amounts to $1.6 million from the GPSF. This project is being implemented by Lawyers without Borders Canada.

2. Fund for Implementing National Security and Justice Policies

This fund supports government and civil society project proposals that advance the implementation of the Government of Guatemala’s security and justice system reform plan and the sustainability of CICIG’s work. The primary government institutions involved are the Attorney‑General’s Office and the Interior Ministry, including the Police Reform Commission. Canada is contributing $1.2 million to this fund, channelled through the UN Development Programme in Guatemala. Contributions are from the GPSF.

3. Deployment of Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to the Police Reform Commission

The deployment of two RCMP officers to Guatemala’s Police Reform Commission supports the work of this key agency in the police reform process. Canada’s contribution will total up to $600,000 from the GPSF.

4. Support for the Organization of American States Regional Mediation Capacity Building Project

This initiative’s objective is to strengthen the institutional capacity of the Organization of American States’ Department of Democratic Sustainability and Special Missions and its ability to support and conduct mediation initiatives in Central America, the Caribbean and the Andean region. Part of this contribution supports the conflict prevention activities of the OAS Office in the Belize-Guatemala Adjacency Zone. Canada has provided $603,000 in funding and technical assistance through the GPSF.

5. Independent Policy-Oriented Research and Recommendations on Peace and Security

This project supports the International Crisis Group (ICG) in the research and production of independent policy-oriented reports on key peace, justice and security issues for Guatemala as well as Haiti and Colombia. These reports are complemented by high-level advocacy with policy-makers in the Americas and throughout the international community. Canada has provided over $600,000 to the ICG from the GPSF.

6. Special Investigative Methods Project

The Special Investigative Methods Project, implemented by the Justice Education Society of British Columbia, aims to strengthen the capacity of law enforcement agencies in three Central American countries through the provision of equipment and training on investigative methods — such as surveillance, wiretaps and forensic video analysis — which are critical in the fight against sophisticated criminal networks. Canadian funding for the Guatemala portion of this project comes from the ACCBP and totals $1.4 million.

7. Building an Effective Model for Criminal Investigation in Guatemala

This project seeks to strengthen the capacities of the security system in Guatemala by coaching prosecutors and police in major case management. A model of prosecutor and police collaboration will be developed and implemented in Guatemala City and Quetzaltenango. Canada’s contribution to this project comes from the ACCBP and totals $1.19 million. This project is being implemented by the Justice Education Society of British Columbia.