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OAS Secretary General Participates in National Meeting of Judicial Facilitators in Guatemala

  September 18, 2014

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today attended, along with the President of the Supreme Court of Justice of Guatemala, a national meeting of judicial facilitators of the Central American country, held at the Palace of Justice in Guatemala City.

Secretary General Insulza congratulated the hundreds of judicial facilitators in attendance, telling them “you are at the heart of the principles and pillars of action of the OAS. One of those pillars is democracy-building, and you, by exercising community leadership to spread knowledge of human rights and how to exercise them, are strengthening democracy in Guatemala.”

The leader of the hemispheric institution recalled that the Inter-American Program of Judicial Facilitators (PIFJ) began in 2007 and, since then, “we have made accessible to four million people the 7,960 facilitators now working in eight countries of the Americas.” In Guatemala, said the Secretary General, the Program began in 2010, and "now I can say with pride that, in these four years, we together have made judicial facilitators available to half a million Guatemalans. Together we have built a powerful bridge to justice in this country.”

Insulza stressed the importance of the will for institution-building in the Government of Guatemala, particularly the Supreme Court. From this perspective, he reaffirmed the OAS's readiness “to continue providing assistance through our Inter-American Program of Judicial Facilitators." Lastly, the Organization's highest representative said “you can be assured that we will continue working together to overcome the obstacles facing this great country, honoring the efforts of nearly a thousand Guatemalan judicial facilitators, whose tenacity and dedication have my admiration and gratitude.”

The Presiding Magistrate of the Supreme Court of Justice, José Arturo Sierra González, praised the institution of judicial facilitators and gave assurances that its expansion is part of the Court's efforts to modernize justice administration. “This is a kind of service that links the needs of people in villages, communities, and neighborhoods” with the administration of justice, he said.

Judge Sierra González reported that the Guatemalan Government is expanding the program to 50 municipalities, with a goal of increasing it from 907 facilitators today to up to 1,500 by early 2015. In concluding, Sierra González thanked countries that had contributed to the Program, and the OAS specifically, for “creating the judicial facilitator, because, without your technical and financial assistance, it would have been impossible to launch the judicial facilitators service in Guatemala.”

First Secretary Bastiaan Engelhard, Central America Program Coordinator of the Kingdom of the Netherlands--one of the countries contributing to the PIFJ--called the Program “a direct response to the lack of access to justice, or to the perception of such lack, and an indirect response to the enormous challenges to citizen security in many countries of the region.” The Dutch diplomat recalled that, in 2011, the PIFJ had received the international “Innovating Justice” award granted by the Dutch consortium Innovating Justice, in The Hague.

The Inter-American Program of Judicial Facilitators (LINK) contributes to democratic governance, defending human rights, reducing conflict, and the security of citizens, especially those in vulnerable circumstances, increasing access to justice.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-385/14