On 25 November we commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. On this occasion, it is essential to shed light on the efforts made by women to end violence against them, especially in conflict and post-conflict countries. Conflicts have different impacts on men and women victimising the latter and enclosing them under stereotypes. If the underlying reasons are not dealt with and root causes left unaddressed, violence continues after the end of the conflict, leaving the public sphere and arising in the private sphere instead. Guatemala is no exception.
More than twenty years have passed since the end of the armed conflict in Guatemala. Since 1996, different efforts were made towards the transition to democracy but most importantly towards the transition to peace and justice. Nevertheless, revealing truth, establishing justice, and providing reparations are not easy tasks and require political will and societal support. Women, who were mainly victims of sexual and gender based violence, understood since the beginning that they needed to fight and go through a long way in order to get justice. “They broke the silence and overcome fear”. Justice for them meant dignity for them and their families.
In this video, we recognise the efforts made by Guatemalan women through the testimonies of four strong women who are going through an inspirational journey towards justice and how they are motivating others to join them and continue their pursuit of justice. We invite you to meet with Lucía Xiloj, lawyer for the achi women, Paulina Alvarado an achi woman survivor, Maria Cedillo, witness and survivor of the Ixil genocide case, and Marielos Loch, member of Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa, whose family members were forcibly disappeared.
The historical Sepur Zarco case that just achieved a firm ruling and Ixil genocide cases were the fruit of years of work and struggles, but finally has inspired other women and encouraged them to follow the same road.
The video is available in English and Spanish (original).
The Observatory of Judicial Independence is a tool to monitor and analyse the internal and external factors that threaten judicial independence in Guatemala.