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Research sheds light on gender reparation in postwar Guatemala

April 29, 2016

"Conflict-related sexual violence has been one of history’s greatest silences," declared the 2011 UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict. The damage continues long after war has ended: victims continue to suffer in many ways, rarely receive compensation or an apology, and are often ostracized from their communities.

An IDRC-supported participatory action research project allowed the voices of 54 Mayan women survivors of Guatemala’s 36-year long conflict to be heard. The project, a collaboration between York University, Boston College, the National Union of Guatemalan Women, and women who had endured human rights violations and sexual violence, contributed to the broader struggle for justice, historical memory, and redress. Through participatory workshops and individual interviews, data was gathered to inform and influence reparations policymaking.

The project found that the Mayan women survivors had strengthened their capacity to make meaning and create new knowledge about reparation and justice in post-conflict Guatemala. They also developed a deeper understanding of what gendered reparation can mean in terms of holding the state accountable and bringing perpetrators to justice.

Read the project report, Understanding women's struggles for justice, healing, and redress: A study of gender and reparation in postwar Guatemala in English (PDF, 388KB) or in Spanish (PDF, 378KB)

Read the 2011-2012 Strategic Framework for the UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict (PDF, 213KB)