Country visit: 20 - 29 August 2012
Report published: 21 January 2013
The Special Rapporteur, during her visit to Guatemala, gleaned much information analysing the existing institutional framework, legislative initiatives, policies and programmes in place to combat sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. Guatemala has a sufficient legal framework for child protection. However, it is failing to improve the lives of vulnerable children as the scale of the problems of sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography within the country remains difficult to detect. Moreover, existing institutions only target certain aspects of the problems while existing policies and programmes suffer from incoherence, inadequate resources, lack of time-bound indicators and inconsistent monitoring. Mandate overlap between institutions, lack of inter-institutional coordination and fragile relationships between stakeholders further worsen the complexities within Guatemala's multidimensional child protection network.
The Special Rapporteur recommends that the government carry out a global assessment of existing child protection legislation, policies and programmes to fortify achievements and combat current problems. She recommends greater harmonisation in civil and penal law to prevent, prohibit and respond to abuse, violence and exploitation of children while creating well-publicised mechanisms for accessibility to justice. Complaints and reporting mechanisms need to be sensitively streamlined towards children's needs, while there needs to be constant monitoring of protection and assistance services provided to child victims, witnesses and children at risk. She further recommends redefinition of the duties of children's rights duty bearers, more efficient inter-agency coordination and redefinition of institutional structures accordingly. With regard to prevention, socioeconomic services and sustainable education and awareness-raising initiatives are crucial to target the root causes of child rights abuse. International and regional cooperation is also essential in Guatemalan efforts to protect children.