Statement Article from  Global Affairs Canada

Canada welcomes verdict in Sepur Zarco trial in Guatemala

February 27, 2016 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

Canada today issued the following statement on the verdict in the Sepur Zarco trial in Guatemala:

“Canada welcomes the verdict in the Sepur Zarco trial held in Guatemala. The trial marks the first time that sexual slavery perpetrated during an armed conflict has been prosecuted in the country where the crimes took place. We praise the courage of the survivors in pursuing justice, as well as the dedication of the human rights organizations and lawyers who have supported them.

“The Sepur Zarco case has also helped raise awareness about the systematic violation of Indigenous women’s rights. The guilty verdict is an important step toward ending impunity for sexual and gender-based violence in Guatemala and elsewhere, and the trial serves as an example for other post-conflict states to follow.

“Canada is a staunch supporter of human rights and accountable governance in the Americas and around the world. We commend the people and the institutions of Guatemala for upholding the rule of law and for bringing to justice the perpetrators of crimes against humanity committed during the internal armed conflict between 1960 and 1996.

“We are pleased to have helped support access to justice through projects aimed at building capacity among Guatemalan prosecutors, human rights lawyers and victims’ groups who work on such cases.

“Canada’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security emphasizes the need to prevent sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls in conflict-affected and post-conflict states and to protect their human rights.

“We will continue to stand with Guatemalans as they strive to end impunity and violence.”

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