After the orphanage fire that killed 41 girls in March 2017, the government of Guatemala must locate and identify the survivors and provide the support necessary for all survivors to live with their families or in the community, says the Inter-American Commision on Human Rights this week during a meeting with Disability Rights International.
DRI staff are currently in Mexico City for a series of meetings with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the government of Guatemala. Together with the Guatemalan Procuradoria de Derechos Humanos (PDH), DRI is representing hundreds of children who survived the fire. The girls who were killed had been protesting sexual abuse and forced prostitution in the orphanage. Instead of spending money on fixing up orphanages, DRI and the PDH are demanding that all children – including children with disabilities – be returned to their families and communities.
During this week’s meetings, the IACHR has called on Guatemala to locate and identify all the survivors of the orphanage fire and share their information with DRI so that we may continue to represent them in the case against the Guatemalan government. The IACHR also called on Guatemala to provide support to survivors of the orphanage fire and their families, so that children with disabilities can live with their families in the community rather than being segregated from society in institutions. The IACHR also called for prosecution of orphanage staff who were responsible for abuses against the children.
The IACHR also expressed their commitment to working with DRI and the Guatemalan government to ensure that the survivors’ rights are recognized.
For more on the tragic orphanage fire that killed 41 girls and our case against the Guatemalan government, see our website at https://www.driadvocacy.