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Guatemala: Human Rights

Volume 481: debated on Thursday 23 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on extrajudicial killing in Guatemala. (228217)

According to statistics from the non-governmental organization, Grupo de Apoyo Mutuo, there were 94 extrajudicial killings in Guatemala, in the first nine months of 2008. Against the country’s overall murder rate, official statistics show to date, 3,621 murders in 2008 and 5,000 in the previous year, of which fewer than 3 per cent. of the perpetrators brought to justice.

President Colom, who came to power in January 2008, has taken steps to address these high levels of violent crime and impunity. He replaced the Minister of the Interior, the Attorney General and most recently, the Director and Deputy Director of the National Police. The new Director of Police is working to purge the service of officers linked to corruption and organised crime. The British embassy in Guatemala City supports these efforts, and the work of the UN-sponsored International Commission on Corruption and Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) which recently completed its first year of activities.