Minister Ablonczy Announces Initiatives to Reinforce Security and Justice in Guatemala

October 11, 2012 - Today, at the beginning of her tour of Central America, the Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs), announced Canadian support for three local projects that will help to foster security and justice for Guatemalans. Minister Ablonczy was joined for the announcement by her colleague, Harold Caballeros, Guatemala’s Minister of External Relations.

“Canada is proud to work alongside partners to build a better future for the people of Guatemala and for all citizens of the Americas,” said Minister of State Ablonczy. “I am very pleased to announce today, on the International Day of the Girl, that our government is supporting new local projects to address and prevent violence against children and women and to bring justice to victims of the past. Our government is committed to improving security in the region, and I am gratified to be doing so in concert with my colleagues in Guatemala.”

Valued at a total of $3.3 million, the three projects are being delivered through partnerships with non-governmental organizations and with the Government of Guatemala. One project will serve to connect Guatemalan children who are victims of violence with the help they need, while the second will help local governments to prevent violence against women. The third project supports the Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala (FAFG) and the Historic Archives of Guatemala’s National Police in their work to identify evidence that will be used in the pursuit of justice for crimes committed against civilians during the Guatemalan civil war.

Funding for the projects comes through the Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force’s (START). Through START, $165 million in funding has been put toward initiatives in the Americas that promote peace and security, respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

Today, Minister Ablonczy also met with Guatemala’s President, Otto Pérez Molina, and plans to later accompany the country’s Attorney General, Dr. Claudia Paz y Paz, on a visit to the Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala’s laboratory, where work is being done to identify the remains of Guatemalans killed in the civil war. Minister Ablonczy’s tour of Central America continues tomorrow in Belize and concludes on Sunday.

For more information, please visit Stabilization and Reconstruction and International Day of the Girl.

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A backgrounder follows.

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Joshua Zanin
Director of Communications
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

Improving regional security is a key pillar of Canada’s foreign policy priority of deepening engagement in the Americas.

Canada supports many initiatives in the Americas that enhance security, stability and the rule of law. The three projects announced today are being funded by Canada’s Global Peace and Security Fund (GPSF). They are intended to help Central America implement its Regional Security Strategy.

Details of the individual projects are as follows.

Reinforcing State Response to Cases of Violence Against Children and Adolescents in Guatemala

This project addresses the critical problem of violence against children by reinforcing Guatemalan justice and security systems with an effective, integrated system for child protection that detects the children who are victims of violence, refers them to the services they need and provides them with access to justice. The project is being implemented by UNICEF Guatemala. Canada’s contribution totals $1.2 million over 12 months.

Prevention of Violence Against Women and Girls in Guatemala and El Salvador

This project supports efforts at the municipal and community levels to develop action plans and implement concrete actions for preventing violence against women and girls in Guatemala and El Salvador. The project is being implemented by the Centre for International Studies and Cooperation, a Canadian non-governmental organization. Canada’s contribution totals $1.2 million over 12 months.

Increasing Availability of Physical Evidence for Judicial Proceedings in Cases of Serious Crimes in Guatemala

The 30-year Guatemala civil war was marked by the death of many innocent civilians. The conflict ended in 1996 with the signing of an UN-negotiated peace accord. Canada has been working with local groups and Canadian non-governmental organizations to help bring justice to those that suffered during this period of history.

This project will help Guatemala’s justice system prosecute the authors of the atrocities committed during the country’s internal armed conflict by supporting the Archivo Histórico de la Policía Nacional [National Police historical archive] and the Fundación de Antropología Forense de Guatemala [forensic anthropology foundation of Guatemala]. Canada’s contribution totals $900,000 over six months.