Information from the Mutual Support Group, the Guatemala Human Rights Commission and the Archbishop's Human Rights Office on reliable reports of forced conscription in Guatemala City from July to December 1995 [GTM25324.E]

Within the time constraints of this Response to Information Request, the only suggested source that the DIRB was able to contact is the Washington-based Guatemala Human Rights Commission (GHRC). In a 14 November 1996 telephone interview, the GHRC stated that it has not received reports nor heard about cases of forced conscription in Guatemala (capital city or elsewhere) in the second half of 1995.

The United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA) has included in its reports covering 1995 an evaluation of the commitment by the state to end forcible military conscription.

In its third report (covering the period from 21 May to 21 August 1995, available to the DIRB in Spanish), MINUGUA reported that its mission had registered no cases of forcible or compulsory military conscription, adding that only voluntary recruitment remained in effect pending a new law on military service (n.d. Item 129). The report adds that the status of this commitment was not necessarily known in all localities throughout Guatemala, and that this ignorance had given rise to some concerns and misunderstandings which could be solved through the provision of information (ibid. Item 130). The third report notes that, following the period covered, the state's human rights ombudsman received some reports of violations of the commitment to end forcible military conscription, prompting the mission to continue monitoring the status of military conscription (ibid. Item 129).

In its fourth report, covering the period from 21 August to 31 December 1995, MINUGUA states the following:

Although forcible recruitment has virtually ceased, the Mission received five complaints during the period, verification of which revealed some irregularities but not forcible recruitment. It was found that military commissioners, prior to their demobilization, had summoned youths to military bases to lecture them on their duty to serve in the armed forces (n.d. Item 77).

The Mission concludes that "forcible recruitment for military service has virtually ceased, and it applauds the President's decision to retain only voluntary military service until such time as new legislation on the matter is adopted "(ibid. Item 152).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Guatemala Human Rights Commission (GHRC), Washington, DC. 14 November 1996. Telephone interview with director.

United Nations [New York]. [n.d.] "MINUGUA's Fourth Report: The Situation in Central America: Procedures for the Establishment of a Firm and Lasting Peace and Progress in Fashioning a Region of Peace, Freedom, Democracy and Development." [Internet] , [Interenet] [accessed on 13 November 1996]

_____. [n.d.]. "El Tercer Informe del Director de MINUGUA al Secretario General de la ONU sobre la situacion de derechos humanos: La situacion en centroamerica: procedimientos para establecer la paz firme y duradera, y progresos para la configuracion de una region de paz, libertad, democracia y desarrollo." [Internet] [Interenet] [accessed on 13 November 1996]