The Association of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared of Guatemala (FAMDEGUA), attends cases across different areas of the country where families are looking for their loved ones.

Area of work and rights defended

FAMDEGUA was founded by the relatives of people who disappeared in Guatemala during the Internal Armed Conflict (CAI), highlighting the role played by women in this process: mothers, partners, daughters and grandmothers of the disappeared. Since 1992 it has been working for the preservations of historical memory and justice: searching for people who were victims of forced disappearance during the CAI; denouncing the violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms; promoting exhumation and burial processes; accompanying litigation processes together with the victims' relatives and raising awareness about these experiences with other relatives.

Description of the problem

Following the continuous violation of human rights perpetrated during the IAC, particularly the sharp increase in detentions-disappearances of student, union, peasant, indigenous and community leaders in the early 1980s, relatives of the disappeared began to organize to demand that the State of Guatemala investigate these cases and locate the more than 45,000 people who had been detained-disappeared. With the signing of the Peace Accords and the documentation of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in two truth commission reports - the Informe de Recuperación de la Memoria Histórica (REMHI), "Guatemala: Nunca Más" (Guatemala: Never Again) and the report of the Commission for Historical Clarification (CEH), "Guatemala: Memory of Silence" -, organizations such as FAMDEGUA, the National Coordinator of Widows of Guatemala (CONAVIGUA) and the Mutual Support Group (GAM), led the struggle for making the truth known, recovering historical memory and demanding justice.

In the 30 years since FAMDEGUA was foundwd the organization has worked on exhumations and gathering testimonies in Petén (Dos Erres, Josefinos) and Alta Verapaz (CREOMPAZ) and is playing a key role in the Diario Militar case. All of these cases have already received rulings from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, condemning the State of Guatemala and obliging it to carry out the necessary investigations and judicial processes against those responsible for the crimes.

FAMDEGUA was accompanied by PBI from 1992 until 1999, when PBI's Guatemala Project was temporarily closed. In 2023, after receiving a renewed request from the organisation, PBI began accompanying FAMDEGUA again in April.

For more information about the organization and its struggles visit their website and facebook page.

Related information

NISGUA, Entrevista: Las mujeres en el Caso Diario Militar, webinario 1.09.2022 (In Spanish)