Joint Declaration on the Guatemala Police Archive (National Security Archive)

The Historical Archive of the National Police of Guatemala (AHPN) is in trouble. This unparalleled collection of Guatemalan police records, renowned throughout the hemisphere and across the world, limps along in a drastically reduced state.

A staff that once numbered in the hundreds has dwindled to 35 people, operating on temporary contracts that need to be renewed every couple of months. Guatemala’s government pledged to continue funding the AHPN but refused to accept international assistance, so the Archive’s operating budget has been pared to a minimum. The investigations unit – which, in the past, constantly reviewed records for information to give to families of the disappeared, human rights investigators, scholars, and prosecutors – is gone. And according to two independent scholars who visited the Archive over the summer, outside researchers have not been permitted to conduct their work on the premises but are asked to submit record requests under Guatemala’s access to information law.

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