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  • A group of people hold a banner with photographs of missing people in Guatemala.

    A group of people hold a banner with photographs of missing people in Guatemala. | Photo: EFE

Published 22 February 2018

The head of the mission called on Congress to approve a law to create a national search commission.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has called on Guatemalan authorities to prioritize the search for those that were disappeared during the country’s civil war carried out under the Central American country’s brutal U.S.-backed military regimes.

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Frenchman Kian Abbassian, head of the ICRC mission in Guatemala, said it was "surprising" that the country has made such little progress in the search for the disappeared, saying that of the 45,000 registered missing people, only about 5000 have been found.

"We hope that not only civil society but that authorities advance much faster (in the search) for (the loved ones) of families,” he pressed.

Abbassian said that at the current pace the country is taking to find the missing, it would take 80 years to locate the remaining 40,000.

"These decades of suffering have to be considered as a humanitarian problem today and not the past,” he continued, saying that it should be a top priority for officials.

The head of the mission called on Congress to approve a law to create a national search commission.

Guatemala will commemorate next Sunday the victims of the war, on the National Day of Dignity of the Victims of the Internal Armed Conflict.

In 1999, 3 years after the 36-year conflict ended, the report of the Commission on Historical Clarification attributed the majority of killings to state security forces, especially the Guatemalan army

Some 200,000 people — mostly Indigenous people — were killed or disappeared during the war.


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