HomeNewsBriefUN Chastises Guatemala on Militarization of Security
BRIEF

UN Chastises Guatemala on Militarization of Security

GUATEMALA / 26 MAR 2015 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

The United Nations has criticized Guatemala’s increasingly militarized approach to combating insecurity, a rebuke that could easily be applied to other countries in Central America’s Northern Triangle region.

The military has taken on a larger role in citizen security in Guatemala, but “this has not resulted in visible improvements,” according to the UN Human Rights Council’s annual report on Guatemala (pdf), released in January 2015.

“The persistent insecurity in the country is worrying,” UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Flavia Pansieri, stated on March 25 while presenting the report, according to EFE. “It is unfortunate that the government’s response has been focused until now on the militarization of public security.”

The report noted how attempted homicides have increased in two areas of Guatemala City by 38 percent and 5 percent, respectively, despite the deployment of joint military and police task forces to these areas in 2012. Prior to the deployments, murder attempts in these zones were on the decline. 

The report also stated the use of army squads for public security has expanded from just two to 12 out of Guatemala’s 22 departments over the past two years. 

InSight Crime Analysis

President Otto Perez increased the role of the armed forces in fighting crime soon after assuming office in 2012. Two years later, the national homicide rate increased for the first time since 2009, feeding concerns that this military deployment could have contributed to the uptick in violence. While homicides subsequently dropped nine points in 2014, the UN report suggests that it is unlikely that Guatemala’s use of the military contributed to this. 

Guatemala has also expanded the military’s role in fighting organized crime by installing three military bases in major drug trafficking border zones. The government also replaced police with a specialized military brigade in San Marcos province, the country’s most prolific poppy-growing region. 

SEE ALSO: Guatemala News and Profiles

The other Northern Triangle nations — Honduras and El Salvador — have also relied on a militarized, aggressive approach to combating organized crime. Since taking office in January 2014, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez has increased the number of troops in the country’s military police force, and attempted to enshrine the unit into the constitution, despite concerns these measures could lead to greater human rights violations. In El Salvador, security forces have responded to rising violence following the breakdown of the country’s 2012 gang truce with increasingly aggressive tactics

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

GUATEMALA / 29 JAN 2013

A Guatemalan court ruled that a farm seized from an alleged drug trafficker should go to the state, the first…

BRAZIL / 9 JUN 2017

Hip hop culture has long been associated with gangs, violence and vandalism. But a wide range of…

BOLIVIA / 7 APR 2016

A pastoral letter by members of Bolivia's Catholic Church has spoken out against drug trafficking and consumption in the country,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…