Media Center

Press Release


  November 26, 2003

The Guatemalan government has signed the Inter-American Convention on Serving Criminal Sentences Abroad, praising the Organization of American States (OAS) treaty for its emphasis on the human rights of persons serving sentences outside their countries of origin.

Ambassador Víctor Hugo Godoy Morales, Guatemala’s Permanent Representative to the OAS, signed the documents in the presence of OAS Assistant Secretary General Luigi Einaudi on Tuesday, and lauded the treaty’s coverage of the issue from an international cooperation standpoint.

He explained that over the last four years his government has signed a number of international instruments, notably on human rights, as a way of giving citizens more direct access to international commissions or committees to which they can file complaints. “This has served to bolster freedoms and rights for Guatemalans, and also helps in changing state conduct that for a period up to the transition to democracy was a threat,” he said.

Under the provisions of the treaty, a sentence imposed in one state party upon a national of another state party may be served by the sentenced person in the state of which he or she is a national. According to the Guatemalan envoy, this would help in rehabilitating such persons by transferring them “closer to their family and culture, with better prospects for rehabilitation.”

Assistant Secretary General Einaudi praised Guatemala for signing the treaty, and reiterated the importance of human rights protection—including for prisoners—being a kind of protection and respect that must be part of policy for the current Guatemalan administration as well as state policy. He described the treaty’s focus on rehabilitating prisoners within their own countries as “a step forward.”

Guatemala now joins 11 other OAS member states that have signed the Inter-American Convention on Serving Criminal Sentences Abroad, which was adopted in Managua, Nicaragua, in June 1993. It entered into force in April 1996.

Reference: E-232/03