SAHR Tuesday Talks – The Archives of Victims: The Guatemalan Mutual Support Group (GAM)

The International Council on Archives - Section on Archives and Human Rights invites you to its next conference on Tuesday 3 October 2023 at 4:00 p.m. (Central European Time):

Mario Polanco, GAM Director: The Archives of Victims: The Guatemalan Mutual Support Group (GAM)

The Mutual Support Group emerged in early 1984 and for 40 years has worked accompanying victims and relatives of the practice of forced disappearance of people that occurred in Guatemala. In addition, he has worked in support of human rights, transparency and strengthening the rule of law. Created and developed by wives, sisters, daughters, mothers and other relatives of illegally detained and disappeared people, in the course of these four decades it has collected, among other activities, information about this type of crimes against humanity.

From its creation as an organization of victims’ relatives, it has received nearly four thousand complaints of illegal detention of people and their subsequent forced disappearance. Many of these forms, which contained individual information, increased in volume, due to the presentation of judicial actions such as writs of habeas corpus, investigation requests, solidarity efforts in support of the majority of these victims, and personal identification documents. that were contributed by some of the families.

The legal actions that the GAM has promoted against those responsible for crimes against humanity, in which it has made use of its archive (which is not historical, since it is a “living archive” because it is made up of cases), has caused its members, especially its director, to be victims of constant attacks, which include slanderous accusations, attacks on social networks and also complaints to the Public Ministry.


Doctor in human security graduated from the Faculty of Legal and Social Sciences of the University of San Carlos of Guatemala and graduated from the negotiation and conflict resolution course at Harvard University, in 2004. He is Executive Director of the Mutual Support Group (GAM ), a position he has held for 15 years since 2000. He is a professor at the University of San Carlos of Guatemala and at the Galileo University and a consultant to international organizations, including the Oscar Arias Foundation and the United Nations Programme for the Development. He is the author of two books: Desaparición Forzada en Guatemala and Masacres en Guatemala. He is also a columnist for the newspaper El Periódico and for several journals notably Gazeta, Indagador, Contrapoder and Asuntos del Sur, (virtual journal He has published articles in the IPNUSAC journal of the University of San Carlos of Guatemala. He has been a speaker at academic events in various countries on the American continent and European continent. (United States, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, Austria, Sweden, France among others).


The presentation will be delivered in Spanish. Interpretation into other languages is not available.

Pre-register in the following link: After the registration you will receive a confirmation email containing information on how to join the meeting.

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This conference will be recorded and published in the SAHR's playlist of ICA's YouTube channel.