Statement of the ICA on the Situation of the Historical Archives of the National Police of Guatemala

Records and archives are vital resources for the protection of human rights. They enable people to assert their rights and contest the violation of them; they can be and are used to hold governments and nongovernmental institutions to account in restorative justice practices.

The International Council on Archives (ICA), the world body representing archivists and archival institutions, expresses its deep concern for the future of the Historical Archives of the National Police of Guatemala (AHPN). The AHPN holds records that date from the mid-19th to the late-20th century, documenting the evolution of the National Police service and its functions under successive regimes. Of particular importance are the records that provide evidence of actions undertaken during the civil war (1960-1996) that claimed 200,000 lives, displaced at least a million people, and caused an estimated 45,000 people to disappear who still are not accounted for. The National Police was abolished by the agreement ending the war and a new National Civil Police was established, making the records of the National Police a closed, historical body of records.

The complete statement of the ICA can be found in the Downloads section at the bottom of this page.