At a three-day forum in Guatemala that began on May 15, delegates from the Armed Forces and the police of 14 countries are analyzing human-rights policy in the strategy to fight organized crime in Central America.
“The primary objective (of the meeting) is to strengthen the practice of human rights simultaneously with efforts to combat organized crime,” Guatemalan Army spokesperson Colonel Rony Urízar, who is participating in the meeting, told reporters.
Urízar commented that at the forum, Military personnel will evaluate collaboration with civilian authorities in the “restoration of citizen security,” as well as the policies of respect for human rights that should accompany actions against crime.
“Even if we’re engaged in a frontal assault against organized crime and common crime, it’s indispensable to maintain respect for human rights, both those of the population and those of the alleged criminals,” he said.
The conference was inaugurated by U.S. Ambassador Arnold Chacón and Guatemalan Deputy Defense Minister General Edwin Nájera.
The meeting was organized by the Guatemalan Defense Ministry and the Human Rights Division of the U.S. Southern Command.
“The aim of this conference is to generate a space for learning and exchange, in order to improve public safety and measures to counter organized crime and provide tools for improving respect for human rights in the region,” the embassy said in a press release.
According to the press release, more than 90 Army and police officers from the seven countries of Central America and the Dominican Republic are attending the event.
In addition, civilian officials and members of civil-society organizations from the region are participating, as well as experts from Canada, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and the United States.