landmines 2
Helps Train Guatemalan Police

Human Rights / Children's Rights Across the World

From Casa Alianza / Covenant House in Guatemala, June 13, 2000

"Such initiatives can make a real improvement to the lives of the country's children"

Casa Alianza / Covenant House in Guatemala is to help educate the National Civil police about the lives and human rights of street children in a effort to build better understanding and relations between the two groups.

The police training initiative, which will last for a ten-month period, is designed to create greater awareness amongst the national force on human rights issues, including the rights of children. Casa Alianza, a non profit organization dedicated to the defense and rehabilitation of street children in Mexico and Central America, is to educated the police officers on the lives and experiences of the thousands of street children who struggle to survive on the country's streets every day. It's hoped that through building a mutual understanding the authorities will learn to see the children as human beings with rights. Historically in Guatemala the police and military authorities have committed the vast majority of the human rights violations committed against street children.

Now, in a post civil war, post peace accord Guatemala it is hoped that such initiatives can make a real improvement to the lives of the country's children. In particular Casa Alianza will teach the officers about the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which Guatemala ratified in 1990, the sixth country in the world to do so.

Other participating organizations include the Human Rights office of the Catholic Church (ODHAG) and the Rigoberta Menchu Tum Foundation.

"For more than 7 years Casa Alianza has been trying to get permission to train the Guatemalan police regarding the plight of street children", commented Bruce Harris, the Regional Director of Covenant House’s Latin American Programs. "We are really pleased that we now get the opportunity to share the almost 20 year’s experience we have with the street children. It is a win, win, win situation. Hopefully the children will be a little more secure as a result".

The newly elected government has presented a more positive face regarding human rights abuses in Guatemala. Whilst there is still a long road to travel, at least now the government is allowing more non governmental participation in the resolution and prevention of human rights abuses.

Founded in Guatemala in 1981 Casa Alianza / Covenant House Latin America is a non-profit organization dedicated to the care and rehabilitation of street children in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. The organization’s Regional Office is based in San Jose, Costa Rica. Casa Alianza is the Latin American branch of the New York-based Covenant House a leading advocate of children’s rights in the region.

Casa Alianza serves close to 5,000 street children a year through a four-tier program designed to offer them hope, stability and help the children leave their life on the streets. In addition Casa Alianza last year helped an additional 4,000 children through community and capacitating groups.

From Casa Alianza / Covenant House, Guatemala, June 13, 2000

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