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Belize/Guatemala: OAS Repudiates Death of Guatemalan Minor and Will Investigate Incident

  April 22, 2016

The OAS General Secretariat repudiates the death of a Guatemalan minor at the hands of a Belizean patrol, and urges both sides to redouble efforts to establish a lasting peace in the adjacency zone between the two countries.

The OAS Office in the Adjacency Zone of Belize and Guatemala will investigate the incident at the request of both governments. Once the investigation is concluded the report with its results will be delivered to both Foreign Ministries for the appropriate actions.

During the incident on April 20, in addition to the death of the minor, his father and brother were wounded by gunfire. The OAS expresses its most sincere condolences to the family.

The OAS General Secretariat calls on the governments of Belize and Guatemala to avoid an escalation of tensions, and to renew their efforts to establish a lasting peace.

This incident reinforces the need to observe the confidence building measures in place, in order to prevent future confrontations or situations that could put at risk the peace and stability in the Adjacency Zone, as well as in the area of the Sarstoon River.

The OAS General Secretariat reiterates its recommendation that the two sides carry out the procedures provided for in their respective internal systems as soon as possible, to hold referenda on the decision to submit the territorial controversy to the International Court of Justice, in accordance with the Special Agreement. This is the only viable option to resolve the dispute in a peaceful and permanent way.

Reference: E-049/16