QUETZAL PRIZE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY IN GUATEMALA

RULES

Background and objectives

The Quetzal Prize for Human Rights and Democracy in Guatemala is established in January 2012 by Guatebelga vzw, a non-profit organisation according to Belgian law (statute in B.S. 15/1/2002). It was founded in 2001 to foster democracy and human rights in Guatemala and to undertake actions against impunity for human rights violations in that country. More information can be found on www.guatebelga.be.

The general objective of the Quetzal Prize is to stimulate human rights and democracy in Guatemala. In particular, it wishes to support initiatives that fight against impunity, deepen the culture of human rights and encourage accountable forms of governance.

The Quetzal Prize will be awarded to individual persons or to organisations or institutions that have made a major contribution to human rights and democracy in Guatemala. The prize winners do not have to reside in Guatemala or possess Guatemalan citizenship.

An internationally composed jury will select the prize winner and invite him/her to Belgium to accept the prize during an official ceremony.

The Quetzal Prize consists of a piece of art especially designed by an artist.

It will be awarded on a bi-annual basis.

Nominations and criteria

For the sake of the Quetzal Prize, ‘human rights’ are conceived of in a broad sense, to include such classical human rights as the right to free speech and freedom of association, and the right not to be tortured, as well as social and economic rights, such as the right to food, housing, education, and health care. They also include the human rights enjoyment by specific groups, for instance through the lens of gender, age or ethnicity, or human rights in specific situations, such as emergencies and during or after violent conflicts.

It is fully up to the jury to decide if a given activity falls within the category of human rights and democracy in Guatemala as intended by the Quetzal Prize.

Only nominations in English or Spanish will be considered.

Procedure

Nominations for the Quetzal Prize have to be submitted to the secretary of the jury by  the 31st  of December of the year preceding the award ceremony.

Each person, organisation or institution can only nominate one candidate for any given round.

Nominations should include:

  • a curriculum vitae of the person or a description of the organisation or institution nominated of no less than 3 pages
  • a letter explaining in detail the reasons for nominating the person or organisation or institution, particularly in relation to the general and specific objectives of the prize
  • any additional information deemed useful to provide the jury with a better idea about the contribution of the nominee.

Nominations should be submitted in an electronic format.

Jury

All nominations will be evaluated and the prize winners selected by an international jury that will be composed by the Board of Guatebelga vzw.

Additional information

For more information please check the website www.guatebelga.be or contact the secretary of Guatebelga, Mr. Carlos Colson (info@guatebelga.be).

Seminarie ter herdenking van Walter Voordeckers

Human Rights and Transitional Justice in Latin America: Developing multiple strategies on the road from impunity to accountability

Welkom op 7 mei 2014 in de ochtend voor het seminarie, ’s middags voor de lunch met de sprekers, en van 14-16 nog een aparte bespreking met Naomi ivm onze zaak en de Quetzalprijs.

Wel graag per email inschrijven voor het seminarie.

Faculty of Theology, St Michielsstraat 4, Leuven
Collegium Veteranorum, Romero Room (02.10) 1
Speakers: Prof. Naomi Roht-Arriaza (UC Hastings)
and Mr. Marcelo Torelly (University of Brasilia)
Chair: Prof. Stephan Parmentier (LINC)
Discussant: Prof. Koen Lemmens (LIHRICS)

Lokatie:
Faculty of Theology, St Michielsstraat 4, Leuven
Collegium Veteranorum, Romero Room (02.10) 1

Speakers: Prof. Naomi Roht-Arriaza (UC Hastings) and Mr. Marcelo Torelly (University of Brasilia)

Chair: Prof. Stephan Parmentier (LINC)
Discussant: Prof. Koen Lemmens (LIHRICS)

Solidariteit met Jan Vandeveire en Maria Amparo

Belangeloze solidariteit met het volk van Guatemala is wat Jan Vandeveire en Maria Amparo al
tientallen jaren begeestert en bezielt.
Op weg van de hoofdstad naar Antigua Guatemala voor een daguitstap met de kleinkinderen,
werden Jan en Maria slachtoffers van een brutaal verkeersongeval.
Mutualiteit en sociaal georiënteerde gezondheidszorg zijn in Guatemala jammer genoeg nog altijd
onbestaande.
Zware operaties en medische nazorg zorgen voor hoge acute financiële problemen. Spontane
solidariteit in Guatemala heeft reeds wonderen verricht. Maar de nood blijft hoog.
Onze dringende financiële solidariteit met Jan en Maria staat symbool voor ónze
menselijke tederheid en mededogen.
Rek.nr: BE41 29982040 5010, Vandeveire Hilda, met vermelding: ‘ solidair met Jan en Maria ‘
Met dank: Vlaams Guatemala Comité; Guatebelga; SolidairSelection_011met Guatemala.

“ Solidariteit is de tederheid der volkeren “ ( T. Borge )

Belangeloze solidariteit met het volk van Guatemala is wat Jan Vandeveire en Maria Amparo al tientallen jaren begeestert en bezielt.

Selection_011

Op weg van de hoofdstad naar Antigua Guatemala voor een daguitstap met de kleinkinderen, werden Jan en Maria slachtoffers van een brutaal verkeersongeval. Mutualiteit en sociaal georiënteerde gezondheidszorg zijn in Guatemala jammer genoeg nog altijd onbestaande.

Zware operaties en medische nazorg zorgen voor hoge acute financiële problemen. Spontane solidariteit in Guatemala heeft reeds wonderen verricht. Maar de nood blijft hoog.

Onze dringende financiële solidariteit met Jan en Maria staat symbool voor ónze menselijke tederheid en mededogen.

Rek.nr: BE41 29982040 5010, Vandeveire Hilda, met vermelding: ‘ solidair met Jan en Maria ‘

Met dank: Vlaams Guatemala Comité; Guatebelga; Solidair met Guatemala.

Uitnodiging Serge Berten-wandeling op zondag 19 januari 14u

SBC wandeling

Op 10 december deelt Stop the Killings mensenrechtenprijzen uit

Affiche Human Rights AwardsHet is stilaan een traditie geworden. Op de internationale dag van de mensenrechten, vraagt Stop the Killings aandacht voor de repressie van activisten en syndicalisten in het Zuiden. Dit jaar doet het dit door middel van van een prijsuitreiking. Het platform zal zowel de ‘Human Right Defender’ als de ‘Human Rights violator’ van het jaar met een prijs belonen.

Het belooft een gala-avond te worden in Brussel. Deze keer zullen het echter geen persoonlijkheden uit de sport-, de media- of de culturele wereld zijn die in de schijnwerpers komen te staan. Voor de ‘Human Rights Awards’ nomineerde Stop the Killings specifiek individuen, organisaties of overheden die zich in positieve of negatieve zin hebben onderscheiden met betrekking tot de mensenrechtensituatie in hun land.

Een jury, samengesteld uit vooraanstaande figuren uit media, vakbonden en sociale organisaties, zal haar licht laten schijnen over de nominaties. Maar wie uiteindelijk de prijzen in ontvangst mag nemen, is in eerste instantie jullie beslissing. De komende maand organiseert Stop the Killings een brede bevraging, waarmee het zoveel mogelijk mensen wil bereiken. Deel daarom de nominaties met collega’s , vrienden en familie en stem massaal.

Iedereen die een stem uitbrengt wordt automatisch uitgenodigd voor de officiële prijsuitreiking en bijhorende receptie op 10 december. Deze gaat door vanaf 19u in de spiegelzaal van gemeenschapscentrum De Markten (Oude Graanmarkt 5, Brussel).

Maar uiteraard laten we ons ook in de publieke ruimte gelden. Net zoals vorig jaar spreken we hiervoor af aan het Centraal Station, waar vanaf 18u een symbolische actie zal worden georganiseerd. Denk maar aan 2012, toen enkele honderden mensen geboeid door de straten van Brussel liepen, of 2011, toen we met minstens evenveel een symbolische stembusgang organiseerden aan het Europees Parlement.

Wees solidair met je collega’s in het Zuiden en doe ook dit jaar weer mee!

Hoe kan je een bijdrage leveren?

  • Kies zelf jouw ‘Human Rights Defender’ en ‘Human Rights Violator’ van het jaar en laat ons jouw motivatie weten. Misschien komt deze wel aan bod tijdens de ceremonie.
  • Maak de campagne bekend bij collega’s, vrienden en familie en roep hen op hetzelfde te doen. Alle middelen zijn goed om de nominaties te ‘delen’
  • Kom naar Brussel op 10 december en laat zien dat mensenrechten je meer waard zijn dan het doorsturen van het mail, of een ‘like’ op Facebook.

Samen brengen we internationale solidariteit in de praktijk!

Yolanda 0queli

Uit het KU Leuven Nieuws:


Activiste onder vuur: Yolanda Oquelí Veliz over haar strijd in Guatemala

08 Okt 2013

De Faculteit Rechtsgeleerdheid verwelkomde op maandag 7 oktober Yolanda Oquelí Veliz. Zij nam de allereerste Quetzal Prijs voor mensenrechten en democratie in Guatemala in ontvangst, tijdens de internationale seminarieweek over geweld en straffeloosheid in Centraal-Amerika die het Leuvens Instituut voor Criminologie (LINC) en de KHLeuven van 7 tot 10 oktober organiseren.

(c) KU Leuven - Rob Stevens [1]

Yolanda Oquelí Veliz: “Soms voelen we ons een beetje vergeten daar in ons hoogland. Deze prijs maakt duidelijk dat dat niet zo is.”
(c) KU Leuven – Rob Stevens

Yolanda Oquelí Veliz (32) heeft constant pijn, sinds ze vorig jaar vier kogels in haar lijf kreeg. De daders – twee gemaskerde mannen op een motor – zijn niet gekend. Maar het lijdt geen twijfel dat er een verband is met de strijd die Yolanda voert tegen het opstarten van een goudmijn in haar geboortedorp San José del Golfo en het naburige San Pedro Ayampuc, niet ver van de hoofdstad Guatemala.De bodem in Guatemala is rijk aan waardevolle ertsen. Noord-Amerikaanse en Canadese firma’s betalen de Guatemalteekse regering grof geld voor het verkrijgen van een mijnvergunning. Al 20% van het land is onder licentie. Yolanda Oquelí: “De plaatselijke bevolking wordt nooit betrokken. En de gevolgen voor mens en natuur zijn dramatisch. Bossen worden geveld, heuvels worden afgegraven, het grondwater wordt vervuild met zware metalen die nodig zijn voor het ontginningsproces – kinderen die spelen in gebieden waar al een aantal jaar een mijn actief is, lopen brandwonden op. Een mijn verbruikt op één uur zoveel drinkwater als één mens gedurende meer dan twintig jaar – terwijl water sowieso een schaars goed is in Guatemala.”

Overal in het land voeren lokale gemeenschappen actie tegen de mijnen, maar het vreedzame burgerprotest dat Yolanda sinds 2012 leidt, is bijzonder omdat ze de toegang tot de mijnsite in San José del Golfo en San Pedro Ayampuc nu al anderhalf jaar ononderbroken bezet houden. “Er staan permanent enkele tientallen tentjes. Elke vierentwintig uur worden ze afgelost. Hele families doen eraan mee. Op 7 december vorig jaar naderden er om één uur ‘s nachts 28 vrachtwagens vergezeld van een indrukwekkende politiemacht. Het mobiele netwerk was stilgelegd zodat we elkaar niet konden waarschuwen. Maar we luidden de klokken – het afgesproken signaal – en binnen de veertig minuten stroomden vierduizend mensen toe via de binnenweggetjes, om zich voor de vrachtwagens te gooien.”

“De pijn van de kogel is een voortdurende herinnering dat we niet mogen opgeven.”

Er wordt niet openlijk opgetreden tegen de activisten, maar de bevolking wordt voortdurend geïntimideerd. In juli van dit jaar werd één van de actievoerders doodgeschoten toen hij van een vreedzame sit-in terugkeerde. Ook Yolanda en haar gezin – ze heeft twee kinderen van vier en twee – worden bedreigd. Haar echtgenoot werd ontvoerd en heeft het land verlaten. Sinds de aanslag op haar leven verhuist ze zelf van het ene safe house naar het andere: “We weten niet wie er achter de aanslagen zit, maar we gaan ervan uit dat het huurmoordenaars zijn die andermans vuile werk opknappen.”

Hoe houdt ze het vol? “Door de vele steunbetuigingen, in binnen- en buitenland. Soms voelen we ons een beetje vergeten daar in ons hoogland. Deze prijs maakt duidelijk dat dat niet zo is. En ik heb hoop voor de toekomst. We zijn van plan onze zaak aanhangig te maken bij de Organisatie van Amerikaanse Staten (OAS). We gaan daar trachten aan te tonen dat de officiële milieustudies partijdig zijn. De pijn van de kogel (één kogel kon niet verwijderd worden – red.) is een voortdurende herinnering dat we niet mogen opgeven.”

Ine Van Houdenhove

De internationale seminarieweek ‘Violence and impunity in Central America: obstacles to development?’ wordt georganiseerd door LINC en KHLeuven in samenwerking met Guatebelga vzw, Solidarity with Guatemala, Amnesty International Students Leuven en met de steun van VLIR-UOS.

(c) KU Leuven - Rob Stevens [2]

Activiste Yolanda Oquelí Veliz ontvangt de Quetzal Prijs uit handen van juryvoorzitter Luc Van Ooteghem.
(c) KU Leuven – Rob Stevens
Share: Facebook [3] Twitter [4] Myspace [5] MSN Live [6] Yahoo [7] LinkedIn [8] Digg [9] Delicious [10] Google Plus [11]

Links:
[1] http://nieuws.kuleuven.be/sites/default/files/veliz_lr.jpg
[2] http://nieuws.kuleuven.be/sites/default/files/veliz2_lr.jpg
[3] http://facebook.com/sharer.php?u=http://nieuws.kuleuven.be/node/12262&t=Activiste+onder+vuur%3A+Yolanda+Oquel%C3%AD+Veliz+over+haar+strijd+in+Guatemala
[4] http://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=Activiste+onder+vuur%3A+Yolanda+Oquel%C3%AD+Veliz+over+haar+strijd+in+Guatemala&url=http://nieuws.kuleuven.be/node/12262
[5] http://www.myspace.com/Modules/PostTo/Pages/default.aspx?u=http://nieuws.kuleuven.be/node/12262&c=Activiste+onder+vuur%3A+Yolanda+Oquel%C3%AD+Veliz+over+haar+strijd+in+Guatemala
[6] http://profile.live.com/badge/?url=http://nieuws.kuleuven.be/node/12262&title=Activiste+onder+vuur%3A+Yolanda+Oquel%C3%AD+Veliz+over+haar+strijd+in+Guatemala&description=De+Faculteit+Rechtsgeleerdheid+verwelkomde+op+m…
[7] http://bookmarks.yahoo.com/toolbar/savebm?opener=tb&u=http://nieuws.kuleuven.be/node/12262&t=Activiste+onder+vuur%3A+Yolanda+Oquel%C3%AD+Veliz+over+haar+strijd+in+Guatemala&d=De+Faculteit+Rechtsgeleerdheid+verwelkomde+op+m…
[8] http://www.linkedin.com/shareArticle?url=http://nieuws.kuleuven.be/node/12262&mini=true&title=Activiste+onder+vuur%3A+Yolanda+Oquel%C3%AD+Veliz+over+haar+strijd+in+Guatemala&ro=false&summary=De+Faculteit+Rechtsgeleerdheid+verwelkomde+op+m…&source=
[9] http://digg.com/share?url=http://nieuws.kuleuven.be/node/12262
[10] http://www.delicious.com/save?v=5&noui&jump=close&url=http://nieuws.kuleuven.be/node/12262&title=Activiste+onder+vuur%3A+Yolanda+Oquel%C3%AD+Veliz+over+haar+strijd+in+Guatemala
[11] https://plus.google.com/share?url=http://nieuws.kuleuven.be/node/12262

Aankondiging Internationaal seminarie en uitreiking Quetzalprijs (7 tot 10 oktober)

Klik op het icoontje met de Engelse vlag, rechts bovenaan.

SEMINAR EN UITREIKING QUETZALPRIJS

International Seminar Week on ‘Violence and Impunity in Central America: Obstacles to Development?’
Leuven, 7-10 October 2013
Organised by the Leuven Institute of Criminology, University of Leuven, and the School of Social Work, University College Leuven,
in collaboration with Guatebelga vzw, Solidarity with Guatemala, and Amnesty International Students Leuven,
and with the financial support of VLIR-UOS (Flemish Development Cooperation)

Background and objectives
Crime and violence are increasingly being recognised as important factors that hamper the development of countries and regions. Next to the physical and emotional damage to victims violence also has a negative impact on the macro and micro economic growth and development of a country. Furthermore, it weakens the judicial system through impunity and corruption and thus erodes the legitimacy of state institutions. According to the 2011 World Development Report of the World Bank violence is an important obstacle to the development of most countries in Central America. With a long history of civil war and political violence, countries like Guatemala and Nicaragua are nowadays confronted with violence through narcotics trade and juvenile gangs, reinforced by the presence of large quantities of arms. Dealing with the aftermath of violence and preventing it altogether are amongst the greatest challenges for the development of this region.
The international seminar week in Leuven (7-10 October 2013) deals with violence and impunity in Central America and investigates how and to which extent they constitute obstacles to the development of the region. The particular focus is on the neighbouring countries Guatemala and Nicaragua, and special attention is paid to juvenile delinquency and violence committed by youth gangs. These phenomena are studied in their historical context and new strategies are explored to reduce violence and impunity and promote development for the region.
The week aims at sensitizing students and staff members of the institutions within the Association KU Leuven and bringing together research expertise around these central themes. It also intends to create new partnerships in Flanders and with Central American institutions and organizations working around these themes.
International speakers
Marie-Louise Glebbeek is assistant professor of cultural anthropology at Utrecht University (the Netherlands). She has studied cultural anthropology and non-western sociology at the universities of Amsterdam and Utrecht University and specializes in Latin America in general and Guatemala in particular. Her thematic focus is on civil conflict, post-war transitions, violence and crime, and democratic consolidation and police reform.
Mo Hume is senior lecturer in politics at the University of Glasgow (United Kingdom). After completing her Ph.D. in December 2003, she held a post-doctoral fellowship at the Institute of Latin American Studies, University of Liverpool. Her research focuses on issues of violence and gender in post-war societies, as well as the politicisation of crime, with particular interest in Central America. From 2008-2010 she worked on a research project on state-civil society relations in El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua and she has published widely about these topics.
Yolanda Oquelí Veliz is the leader of the Frente Norte del Área Metropolitana – FRENAM (Northern Front of the Metropolitan Area), a movement of community members who defend the land from the expansion of mining activities in San José del Golfo and San Pedro Ayampuc, in the Department of Guatemala. Her extensive experience in mobilising civil protest has lead to her being threatened at several occasions and being shot in June 2012. For these reasons Yolanda Oqueli Veliz will receive the First Quetzal Prize 2013 awarded in honour of persons having made a special contribution to human rights and democracy in Guatemala.
Dennis Rodgers is a social anthropologist by training, with degrees from the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom) and the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva (Switzerland). He was lecturer at the London School of Economics, in development studies (2000-05), and urban development (2005-07), and is currently senior research fellow in the Brooks World Poverty Institute (BWPI), at the University of Manchester, and visiting fellow at the London School of Economics. He is also the associate editor of the European Journal of Development Research and has worked as a consultant for various international and national organisations.
More information
More information about the international seminar week can be obtained from the organisers:
Barbara Van Wijnendaele (University College Leuven, School of Social Work – Barbara.vanwijnendaele@khleuven.be)
Barbara Van Wijnendaele holds degrees in philosophy and social and cultural anthropology from KU Leuven (Belgium) and development management from Open University – Milton Keynes (United Kingdom). She is currently a researcher at the School of Social Work at University College Leuven, and coaches students of the Bachelor programme on ‘International Cooperation North-South’. She worked with street children and youth in Nicaragua and afterwards studied youth violence and violence prevention in El Salvador (2005-2008), to finish her doctoral degree at Brunel University in London.
Stephan Parmentier (University of Leuven, Faculty of Law, Leuven Institute of Criminology – Stephan.Parmentier@law.kuleuven.be and www.law.kuleuven.be/linc)
Stephan Parmentier studied law and sociology at the KU Leuven (Belgium) and sociology and conflict resolution at the Humphrey Institute for Public Affairs, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (U.S.A.). He currently teaches sociology of crime, law, and human rights at the Faculty of Law of the KU Leuven and is the secretary-general of the International Society for Criminology. His research interests include political crimes, transitional justice and human rights, and the administration of criminal justice. Between 1999 and 2002 he served as the vice-president of the Flemish section of Amnesty International.

FINAL PROGRAMME 1 Monday 7 October
17:00 Start of Amnesty International student writing action Venue: Faculty of Law (Leuven) and School of Social Work (Heverlee)
18:00 Ceremony: First Quetzal Prize to Yolanda Oquelí Veliz (Frente Norte del Área Metropolitana, Guatemala) Venue: Council Room, Faculty of Law, Tiensestraat 41, Leuven (advance registration required)2
19:00 Reception for participants to the Quetzal Prize ceremony (advance registration required)3
Tuesday 8 October
11:00 Lecture and Discussion on ‘Violence and Impunity in Central America’
by Mo Hume (University of Glasgow) and Yolanda Oquelí Veliz (Quetzal Prize Winner 2013) Venue: Aud. 01.03, Faculty of Theology (MTC), St Michielsstraat 6, Leuven
15:00 Meeting with the media (by invitation only) Venue: Council Room, Faculty of Law, Tiensestraat 41, Leuven
Wednesday 9 October
9:00 Lecture and Discussion on ‘Youth Violence in Nicaragua and El Salvador’ by Dennis Rodgers (University of Glasgow) and Mo Hume (University of Glasgow) Venue: School of Social Work, Heverlee
19:00 Movie projection ‘El Granito. How to Nail a Dictator’
by Pamela Yates and Paco De Onis,
followed by public debate on violence, impunity and development in Central America with Dennis Rodgers (University of Glasgow) and Marie-Louise Glebbeek (Utrecht University) (free entrance)
Venue: Aud. Zeger Van Hee, Faculty of Law, Tiensestraat 41, Leuven
1 All activities are free and open to the wider public unless indicated otherwise.
2 Advance registration is required if you want to take part in the Quetzal Prize ceremony. Please confirm your name with sonja.wellens@law.kuleuven.be by Thursday 3 October at the latest.
3 Advance registration is required if you want to take part in the reception following the ceremony of the Quetzal Prize. Please confirm your name with sonja.wellens@law.kuleuven.be by Thursday 3 October at the latest.

Thursday 10 October
14:00-17:00 Research seminar on ‘Violence, impunity and development’
for doctoral researchers and special guests
with Denis Rodgers (University of Glasgow) and Marie-Louise Glebbeek (Utrecht University) (by invitation only)
Venue: Council Room, Faculty of Law, Tiensestraat 41, Leuven
17:00 End of Amnesty International student writing action Venue: Faculty of Law (Leuven) and School of Social Work (Heverlee)
QUETZAL PRIZE
FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY IN GUATEMALA
First Quetzal Prize Winner 2013: Yolandi Oquelí Veliz
Yolanda Oquelí Veliz is the leader of the Frente Norte del Área Metropolitana – FRENAM (Northern Front of the Metropolitan Area), a movement of community members who defend the land from the expansion of mining activities in San José del Golfo and San Pedro Ayampuc, in the Department of Guatemala. On 13 June 2012, as she travelled home from a peaceful protest in the village of La Puya towards San José El Golfo, she was confronted on the road by two men on a motorcycle and then shot. Fortunately she was able to recover from the bullet wounds in the hospital and later on went on with her activist work. The violence has not diminished, however, and Yolanda is currently facing new threats against herself and her family.
Local communities have been protesting at various mining sites in Guatemala since 2012 in order to raise their concerns over the negative environmental impact of the mining activities by several mining companies. It is believed that the threats and attempted killing of human rights defender Yolanda Oquelí is directly related to her peaceful work opposing the expansion of mining activities in the region mentioned and defending human rights in Guatemala in general.
For her leadership and courage Yolandi Oquelí Veliz will be awarded the First Quetzal Prize 2013 on Monday 7 October at 18:00 at the Faculty of Law, KU Leuven, Belgium (Tiensestraat 41, Leuven).

Background
The Quetzal Prize for Human Rights and Democracy in Guatemala was established in January 2012 by Guatebelga vzw, a non-profit association according to Belgian law (statute in B.S. 15/1/2002). It was founded in 2001 to foster democracy and human rights in Guatemala and to undertake actions against impunity for human rights violations in that country.
The general objective of the Quetzal Prize is to stimulate human rights and democracy in Guatemala. In particular, it wishes to support the fight against impunity, deepen the culture of human rights and encourage accountable forms of governance.
The Quetzal Prize will be awarded to individual persons or to organisations or institutions that have made a major contribution to human rights and democracy in Guatemala. The prize winners do not have to reside in Guatemala or possess Guatemalan citizenship.
The Prize will be awarded on a bi-annual basis. It consists of a piece of art especially designed by an artist. The first three editions of the Quetzal Prize consist of a sculpture specially designed by Flemish artist Frans Wuytack.
The prize winner is selected by an internationally composed jury. The jury members are Mr. Luc Van Ooteghem (self employed, solidarity movement with Central America, Belgium, chairperson), Dr. Angela Delli Santi (lecturer in human rights, Germany), Prof. Naomi Roht- Arriaza (professor of law, expert on human rights and transitional justice, United States) and Mrs. Liesbet Walckiers (journalist with specialisation in Latin America, lecturer in journalism, Belgium).
Additional information
For more information please check the website www.guatebelga.be or contact the secretary of Guatebelga, Mr. Carlos Colson (info@guatebelga.be).
International Seminar Week on ‘Violence and Impunity in Central America: Obstacles to Development?’

Leuven, 7-10 October 2013

Organised by the Leuven Institute of Criminology, University of Leuven, and the School of Social Work, University College Leuven,

in collaboration with Guatebelga vzw, Solidarity with Guatemala, and Amnesty International Students Leuven,

and with the financial support of VLIR-UOS (Flemish Development Cooperation)

Background and objectives

Crime and violence are increasingly being recognised as important factors that hamper the development of countries and regions. Next to the physical and emotional damage to victims violence also has a negative impact on the macro and micro economic growth and development of a country. Furthermore, it weakens the judicial system through impunity and corruption and thus erodes the legitimacy of state institutions. According to the 2011 World Development Report of the World Bank violence is an important obstacle to the development of most countries in Central America. With a long history of civil war and political violence, countries like Guatemala and Nicaragua are nowadays confronted with violence through narcotics trade and juvenile gangs, reinforced by the presence of large quantities of arms. Dealing with the aftermath of violence and preventing it altogether are amongst the greatest challenges for the development of this region.

The international seminar week in Leuven (7-10 October 2013) deals with violence and impunity in Central America and investigates how and to which extent they constitute obstacles to the development of the region. The particular focus is on the neighbouring countries Guatemala and Nicaragua, and special attention is paid to juvenile delinquency and violence committed by youth gangs. These phenomena are studied in their historical context and new strategies are explored to reduce violence and impunity and promote development for the region.

The week aims at sensitizing students and staff members of the institutions within the Association KU Leuven and bringing together research expertise around these central themes. It also intends to create new partnerships in Flanders and with Central American institutions and organizations working around these themes.

International speakers

Marie-Louise Glebbeek is assistant professor of cultural anthropology at Utrecht University (the Netherlands). She has studied cultural anthropology and non-western sociology at the universities of Amsterdam and Utrecht University and specializes in Latin America in general and Guatemala in particular. Her thematic focus is on civil conflict, post-war transitions, violence and crime, and democratic consolidation and police reform.

Mo Hume is senior lecturer in politics at the University of Glasgow (United Kingdom). After completing her Ph.D. in December 2003, she held a post-doctoral fellowship at the Institute of Latin American Studies, University of Liverpool. Her research focuses on issues of violence and gender in post-war societies, as well as the politicisation of crime, with particular interest in Central America. From 2008-2010 she worked on a research project on state-civil society relations in El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua and she has published widely about these topics.

Yolanda Oquelí Veliz is the leader of the Frente Norte del Área Metropolitana – FRENAM (Northern Front of the Metropolitan Area), a movement of community members who defend the land from the expansion of mining activities in San José del Golfo and San Pedro Ayampuc, in the Department of Guatemala. Her extensive experience in mobilising civil protest has lead to her being threatened at several occasions and being shot in June 2012. For these reasons Yolanda Oqueli Veliz will receive the First Quetzal Prize 2013 awarded in honour of persons having made a special contribution to human rights and democracy in Guatemala.

Dennis Rodgers is a social anthropologist by training, with degrees from the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom) and the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva (Switzerland). He was lecturer at the London School of Economics, in development studies (2000-05), and urban development (2005-07), and is currently senior research fellow in the Brooks World Poverty Institute (BWPI), at the University of Manchester, and visiting fellow at the London School of Economics. He is also the associate editor of the European Journal of Development Research and has worked as a consultant for various international and national organisations.

More information

More information about the international seminar week can be obtained from the organisers:

Barbara Van Wijnendaele (University College Leuven, School of Social Work – Barbara.vanwijnendaele@khleuven.be)

Barbara Van Wijnendaele holds degrees in philosophy and social and cultural anthropology from KU Leuven (Belgium) and development management from Open University – Milton Keynes (United Kingdom). She is currently a researcher at the School of Social Work at University College Leuven, and coaches students of the Bachelor programme on ‘International Cooperation North-South’. She worked with street children and youth in Nicaragua and afterwards studied youth violence and violence prevention in El Salvador (2005-2008), to finish her doctoral degree at Brunel University in London.

Stephan Parmentier (University of Leuven, Faculty of Law, Leuven Institute of Criminology – Stephan.Parmentier@law.kuleuven.be and www.law.kuleuven.be/linc)

Stephan Parmentier studied law and sociology at the KU Leuven (Belgium) and sociology and conflict resolution at the Humphrey Institute for Public Affairs, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (U.S.A.). He currently teaches sociology of crime, law, and human rights at the Faculty of Law of the KU Leuven and is the secretary-general of the International Society for Criminology. His research interests include political crimes, transitional justice and human rights, and the administration of criminal justice. Between 1999 and 2002 he served as the vice-president of the Flemish section of Amnesty International.

FINAL PROGRAMME 1 Monday 7 October

17:00 Start of Amnesty International student writing action Venue: Faculty of Law (Leuven) and School of Social Work (Heverlee)

18:00 Ceremony: First Quetzal Prize to Yolanda Oquelí Veliz (Frente Norte del Área Metropolitana, Guatemala) Venue: Council Room, Faculty of Law, Tiensestraat 41, Leuven (advance registration required)2

19:00 Reception for participants to the Quetzal Prize ceremony (advance registration required)3

Tuesday 8 October

11:00 Lecture and Discussion on ‘Violence and Impunity in Central America’
by Mo Hume (University of Glasgow) and Yolanda Oquelí Veliz (Quetzal Prize Winner 2013) Venue: Aud. 01.03, Faculty of Theology (MTC), St Michielsstraat 6, Leuven

15:00 Meeting with the media (by invitation only) Venue: Council Room, Faculty of Law, Tiensestraat 41, Leuven

Wednesday 9 October

9:00 Lecture and Discussion on ‘Youth Violence in Nicaragua and El Salvador’ by Dennis Rodgers (University of Glasgow) and Mo Hume (University of Glasgow) Venue: School of Social Work, Heverlee

19:00 Movie projection ‘El Granito. How to Nail a Dictator’
by Pamela Yates and Paco De Onis,
followed by public debate on violence, impunity and development in Central America with Dennis Rodgers (University of Glasgow) and Marie-Louise Glebbeek (Utrecht University) (free entrance)
Venue: Aud. Zeger Van Hee, Faculty of Law, Tiensestraat 41, Leuven

1 All activities are free and open to the wider public unless indicated otherwise.

2 Advance registration is required if you want to take part in the Quetzal Prize ceremony. Please confirm your name with sonja.wellens@law.kuleuven.be by Thursday 3 October at the latest.
3 Advance registration is required if you want to take part in the reception following the ceremony of the Quetzal Prize. Please confirm your name with sonja.wellens@law.kuleuven.be by Thursday 3 October at the latest.

Thursday 10 October

14:00-17:00 Research seminar on ‘Violence, impunity and development’
for doctoral researchers and special guests
with Denis Rodgers (University of Glasgow) and Marie-Louise Glebbeek (Utrecht University) (by invitation only)
Venue: Council Room, Faculty of Law, Tiensestraat 41, Leuven

17:00 End of Amnesty International student writing action Venue: Faculty of Law (Leuven) and School of Social Work (Heverlee)

QUETZAL PRIZE
FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY IN GUATEMALA

First Quetzal Prize Winner 2013: Yolandi Oquelí Veliz

Yolanda Oquelí Veliz is the leader of the Frente Norte del Área Metropolitana – FRENAM (Northern Front of the Metropolitan Area), a movement of community members who defend the land from the expansion of mining activities in San José del Golfo and San Pedro Ayampuc, in the Department of Guatemala. On 13 June 2012, as she travelled home from a peaceful protest in the village of La Puya towards San José El Golfo, she was confronted on the road by two men on a motorcycle and then shot. Fortunately she was able to recover from the bullet wounds in the hospital and later on went on with her activist work. The violence has not diminished, however, and Yolanda is currently facing new threats against herself and her family.

Local communities have been protesting at various mining sites in Guatemala since 2012 in order to raise their concerns over the negative environmental impact of the mining activities by several mining companies. It is believed that the threats and attempted killing of human rights defender Yolanda Oquelí is directly related to her peaceful work opposing the expansion of mining activities in the region mentioned and defending human rights in Guatemala in general.

For her leadership and courage Yolandi Oquelí Veliz will be awarded the First Quetzal Prize 2013 on Monday 7 October at 18:00 at the Faculty of Law, KU Leuven, Belgium (Tiensestraat 41, Leuven).

Background

The Quetzal Prize for Human Rights and Democracy in Guatemala was established in January 2012 by Guatebelga vzw, a non-profit association according to Belgian law (statute in B.S. 15/1/2002). It was founded in 2001 to foster democracy and human rights in Guatemala and to undertake actions against impunity for human rights violations in that country.

The general objective of the Quetzal Prize is to stimulate human rights and democracy in Guatemala. In particular, it wishes to support the fight against impunity, deepen the culture of human rights and encourage accountable forms of governance.

The Quetzal Prize will be awarded to individual persons or to organisations or institutions that have made a major contribution to human rights and democracy in Guatemala. The prize winners do not have to reside in Guatemala or possess Guatemalan citizenship.

The Prize will be awarded on a bi-annual basis. It consists of a piece of art especially designed by an artist. The first three editions of the Quetzal Prize consist of a sculpture specially designed by Flemish artist Frans Wuytack.

The prize winner is selected by an internationally composed jury. The jury members are Mr. Luc Van Ooteghem (self employed, solidarity movement with Central America, Belgium, chairperson), Dr. Angela Delli Santi (lecturer in human rights, Germany), Prof. Naomi Roht- Arriaza (professor of law, expert on human rights and transitional justice, United States) and Mrs. Liesbet Walckiers (journalist with specialisation in Latin America, lecturer in journalism, Belgium).

Additional information

For more information please check the website www.guatebelga.be or contact the secretary of Guatebelga, Mr. Carlos Colson (info@guatebelga.be).

Herdenking Walter Voordeckers in Guatemala

Walter Voordeckers

Walter Voordeckers

Walter Voordeckers

Walter Voordeckers

Walter Voordeckers

Walter Voordeckers

Walter Voordeckers

Walter Voordeckers

Walter Voordeckers

Walter Voordeckers

Historisch proces ex-dictator Guatemala

Het proces tegen ex-dictator Rios Montt van Guatemala gaat na twee jaar gerechtelijke vertragingsmaneuvers van start. Opnieuw dreigt dit historisch proces te verzanden. De inzet is zeer hoog. Dit gaat immers om de terreur van de door de Amerikaanse president Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) gefinancierde doodseskaders.

Jarenlang slaagde een hele rits advocaten van ex-generaal Efraín Ríos Montt er in om het proces te blokkeren dat tegen hem ingespannen werd. De nationale en internationale druk liet echter niet af. Eindelijk kwam er toch beweging in de vierkantdraaiende rechtspraak die het land kenmerkt.

Rios Montt, dictator

Na een staatsgreep regeerde de verdachte met ijzeren hand tussen 1982 en 1983. Het leger paste de tactiek van de zogeheten ‘verschroeide aarde’ toe op hele inheemse dorpen, die het beschuldigde van collaboratie met het linkse gewapend verzet in de context van de Koude Oorlog.

Efraín Ríos Montt, 86 jaar, werd recent in verdenking gesteld van genocide voor de moord op 1.770 Ixil Maya’s in het departement Quiché tijdens de meest bloedige periode van het intern gewapend conflict dat resulteerde in 200.000 doden en verdwenen personen.

Eind januari dit jaar werd na een marathonhoorzitting, die drie dagen duurde en waarbij slachtoffers en verdedigers van de generaal hun verhaal presenteerden, Ríos Montt samen met de gepensioneerde generaal José Rodríguez Sánchez in staat van beschuldiging gesteld. Hun advocaten maakten zich sterk dat ze desnoods 500 procedurekwesties zouden aanvoeren om het proces geen kans te geven.

Eindelijk gerechtigheid?

Op 19 maart startte alsnog het mondeling en openbaar debat. Rechter Jazmin Barrios, die ondermeer herhaaldelijk vrouwvijandige uitlatingen van de verdedigers van de beschuldigden moest incasseren, maakte een einde aan het juridische steekspel.

Beschuldigde Ríos Montt probeerde een nieuwe tactiek uit om de gang van het gerecht nog maar eens te blokkeren. Vier advocaten die hem het jongste jaar vertegenwoordigden liet hij vervangen door een nieuwe advocaat. De rechtbank aanvaardde hem. De man kwam echter al meteen met drie incidenten op de proppen.

Het belangrijkste was dat hij beweerde zijn taak van verdediging niet te kunnen uitoefenen daar bij vorige processen een ‘zware vijandigheid’ was ontstaan tussen hem en de voorzitster van het tribunaal, alsook ‘vriendschap’ met iemand die deel uitmaakte van de rechtbank.

De voorzitster probeerde herhaalde malen het incident als niet ter zake doende te verklaren. Naderhand ging de rechter over tot het buitenzetten uit de zaal van de advocaat en besliste dat de verdediging van de e zou gedaan worden door die van de medebeschuldigde Rodríguez Sánchez.

Drie uur later (en eenendertig jaar na de feiten) verkondigde de voorzitster de historische uitspraak: ‘Hierbij wordt het mondeling en openbaar debat over de misdaden van genocide en misdaden tegen de mensheid tegen de heren José Efraín Ríos Montt en José Rodríguez Sánchez begonnen.’

Historisch proces

Dit is een historisch proces waarbij voor de eerste keer in Latijns-Amerika een voormalig staatshoofd voor de rechter verschijnt voor genocide. Zowel de VN als de Europese Unie loofden de rechtsgang in Guatemala.

Met spanning werd dag na dag door honderden persmensen, mensenrechtenverdedigers en de inwoners in Guatemala het proces op de voet gevolgd en in detail beschreven. De uitspraak wordt verwacht tegen volgende week woensdag 24 april.

Tot algemene verbijstering beriep rechter Carol Patricia Flores zich op 18 april op een beschermingsprocedure ten gunste van de beschuldigden en stuurde het proces helemaal terug naar de etappe waar het zich bevond op 23 november 2011. Op zijn beurt vecht het Openbaar Ministerie met aan het hoofd Claudia Paz y Paz, de rechtsgeldigheid van deze stap nu aan. Het laatste woord is dus in deze nog niet gezegd.