USAID’s Justice and Transparency Project (JTP) works to support efforts to combat corruption and to strengthen justice sector institutions so that Guatemalans can access justice services efficiently and inclusively.
JTP also works hand in hand with civil society, providing technical and financial assistance to Guatemalan organizations whose work focuses on addressing migration, transparency, human trafficking, indigenous people’s rights, and gender-based violence.
JTP reinforces the technical and operational capabilities of 15 government institutions responsible for preventing, reducing, and combating violence, crime, fraud, corruption, and impunity, including the Public Defense Institute , the National Institute of Forensic Sciences , the Secretariat against Sexual Violence, Exploitation, and Trafficking in Persons, the National Civilian Police , the Solicitor General’s Office , the Guatemalan Migration Institute , the National Council for Persons with Disabilities (CONADI), among others.
GEOGRAPHICAL AND DEMOGRAPHIC APPROACH
JTP supports government institutions that have national reach. JTP also provides technical support to these institutions strategically and in key locations of the country to reach the largest possible number of beneficiaries.
Technical assistance provided by JTP also reaches local or regional institutions. For example, support provided to the Academy of Mayan Languages impacts Guatemala City and seven linguistic communities from Baja Verapaz, Chimaltenango, Quiché, San Marcos, Alta Verapaz, and Sololá. CONADI operates in Guatemala, Sololá, and Chimaltenango. The Defender of Indigenous Women operates in 13 sites, including Guatemala City; Cobán, Alta Verapaz; Salamá, Baja Verapaz; Chimaltenango; Huehuetenango; Puerto Barrios, Izabal; among others. The people these institutions serve are Mayan girls and women victims of violence (k’ichés, kaqchikeles); indigenous peoples (k’iche’, kaqchikel, achí, pocomchí’, q’eqchí’, mam, tz’utujil, ixil, xinka), disabled persons, persons of diverse sexual identity, migrants, and populations living along the border.
JTP also works with civil society organizations from several departments that provide services to victims, particularly related to violence against women, sexual violence, and human trafficking, whose services facilitate access to justice as well as protection and attention to children, adolescents, and women. They do this by implementing mechanisms to prevent crime as well as actions that support victims including access to jobs and education for survivors of violence.
CONTEXT AND CHALLENGES
Guatemala’s national context poses many challenges to effective justice. The country also faces structural problems such as corruption within public institutions and high crime and violence rates in the country. Vulnerable and marginalized populations have acute needs for services and support, particularly women, children and adolescents’ victims of violence, particularly sexual violence, and human trafficking. This requires solutions and approaches that focus on victims and that seek to eradicate abusive and degrading practices against vulnerable populations. Given that myriad government and civil society organizations work to tackle these challenges, coordination is essential to avoid duplication of efforts.
In response to the State Department’s designation of individuals under Section 353, the Project pivoted some assistance and has focused efforts on achieving contractual objectives and indicators by working with institutions whose missions are aligned with the Project’s objectives. Through this diversification, the Project has reached several government institutions effectively and creatively, allowing work to continue and objectives to be achieved. Efforts have also focused on broadening partnerships with civil society organizations.
FOCUS AND RESULTS
Responding to these challenges, the Justice Project provides wide-ranging responses that strengthen the justice sector and its institutions to promote justice services that are efficient and effective. JTP addresses justice and transparency by working with government institutions and civil society organizations, keeping Guatemalans at the core of the services provided.
Main results of the Justice and Transparency Project so far include:
- Accreditation of 10 INACIF laboratories under the ISO 17025 standard. Four of these laboratories successfully maintained their accreditation (forensic ballistics, forensic genetics, forensic toxicology, and forensic physical-chemical laboratories), and six others were accredited for the first time during the last year.
- Improving the technical quality of interpretation services in justice institutions by translating and publishing a glossary of juridical terms in seven Mayan languages spoken in 13 departments of the country.
- Bolster the Superintendence of Tax Administration and the National Civilian Police to analyze and investigate cases involving corruption, extortion, and crimes against life.
- Support to the Guatemalan Migration Institute to create an efficient model to collect data on irregular migration that will allow authorities to make decisions. The Project’s support allowed the creation of the Regular, Orderly and Safe Migration in Guatemala System.
- Strengthen the response to irregular migration. This includes the creation of the Missing Migrant Search Mechanism to locate missing migrants along the migration route, as well as inter institutional strengthening to strengthen institutions involved in the process. This support has also entailed the creation of the Comprehensive Center for Migration Information Processing, which is key to formulating joint plans to persuade and control groups of migrants.
This project will run from April 30, 2020 to April 29, 2025 with a total estimated USAID investment of $29,369,382.
The USAID implementer for this project is Checchi and Company Consulting, Inc.