Congressman Eliot Engel, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, today urged his counterparts in the Guatemalan Congress to quickly approve the United Nations Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG).
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For Release: Friday, July 27, 2007
ENGEL URGES GUATEMALAN CONGRESS TO APPROVE U.N. COMMISSION AGAINST IMPUNITY
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Eliot Engel, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, today urged his counterparts in the Guatemalan Congress to quickly approve the United Nations Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) when they come back in session on August 1st. Approval of the CICIG would establish a U.N. Commission to investigate illegal security groups and clandestine organizations in Guatemala. Many of these illegal groups are charged with targeting individuals investigating human rights violations committed during Guatemala's 36-year civil war which ended in December 1996.
"The CICIG is a truly innovative mechanism that will have a major impact in combating violence in Guatemala. I urge my colleagues in the Guatemalan Congress to quickly pass the CICIG when they come back in session in August. Guatemala has a real window of opportunity to put an end to illegally armed groups but that window is very small. The time for action is now," said Chairman Engel.
Engel – who held a Subcommittee hearing on Violence in Central America on June 26th – praised the leadership of Guatemala's government in reaching an agreement with the United Nations last December. He said, "The Guatemalan government – under the leadership of Vice President Eduardo Stein – has made a good faith effort to tackle violence through the CICIG. Many of us in the international community are now watching closely and hope to see quick approval of the CICIG by the Guatemalan Congress."
The recently passed House State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2008 provides Foreign Military Financing (FMF) to Guatemala only if the CICIG is brought into force.