Sepur Zarco: The Fight For Justice Continues

Based on information from Mujeres Transformando el Mundo, La Cuerda, through Jody García, has presented an infographic on the continuing fight for justice with regard to the Sepur Zarco case.

Any errors in translation are mine.


Five years ago, a group of grandmothers from the the community of Sepur Zarco, Izabal, managed something historic.

The High Court ‘A’ (Tribunal de Mayor ‘A’) sentenced the retired colonel Esteelmer Reyes, and the ex-military commissioner, Heriberto Valdéz, to 240 years in prison for having physically and sexually exploited them, when both were in charge of the military detachment, where dozens of women were forced to work, and were systematically abused.

In spite of the grandmothers achieving something so big, the State has failed to fulfil the measures comply with the appropriate compensation that the Court ordered to remedy the damage suffered by the women and to guarantee that this would not happen again.

These are the still pending obligations:

  1. Installation of a Health Centre in the community of Sepur Zarco (to date there is only a mobile clinic).
  2. To improve the infrastructure of the schools in Sepur Zarco and three other communities.
  3. To install a bilingual middle-school education centre.
  4. Reward study scholarships in the three levels of education for the population of Sepur Zarco.
  5. Translate the court’s sentence into the 24 national languages.
  6. Pass a law to search for missing persons.
  7. Include into the military education courses themes of women’s human rights and the prevention of violence against women.
  8. Security of the victims, their families, and members of plaintiff organisations supporting their fight for justice.

These measures have shown advances:

  1. The Attorney General’s office is searching for the whereabouts of disappeared community members.
  2. Fontierras [El Fondo de Tierras – government body set up to regularise land access and other land issues] is tracking the process of land registration [legalisation] which the community began in the 1980s.
  3. The Minister of Education approved that the Sepur Zarco case is included in the National Curriculum for Middle-School.
  4. There is a cultural promoter.
  5. That a documentary of the case has been produced.
  6. A sculpture to honour the case has been built. It is waiting to be installed.
  7. Through women’s organisations, and the international community, Sepur Zarco, and three adjoining communities, have received latrines, solar panels, water tanks, home improvements and inputs for vegetable gardens.
  8. The organisation, Mujeres Transformando el Mundo (Women Transforming the World) – MTM – presented an initiative which was approved, for the 26th March to be the Day to dignify the victims of sexual violence.

To see the full infographic, in Spanish, see Jody’s tweet. To read more about the Sepur Zarco case, see Court Ratifies Historic Sepur Zarco Sexual Violence Judgment.

You can follow the work, here, of Mujeres Transformando el Mundo, and La Cuerda.



Categories: Femicide, Gender, Genocide, Guatemala, Human Rights, Indigenous peoples, Justice, Land, Legal, Military, Poverty, Violence

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