A meeting organized by the Organization of American States (OAS) on the identification of mechanisms and procedures for the protection of victims and witnesses of organized crime in Central America concluded today in Antigua, Guatemala.
During the meeting, officials responsible for the various programs of assistance and protection to victims and witnesses in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, addressed the impact of the violence generated by organized crime, and studied mechanisms to protect those affected by it through the strengthening of institutions and programs to assist and protect victims, witnesses and related persons.
During the opening ceremony of the event, the Director of Integration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala, Sandra Jovel, invited the participating countries to "address the greatest challenges of insecurity with greater regional coordination."
For her part, the OAS Representative in Guatemala, Milagro Martinez said the General Secretariat of the OAS is "aware that the growth of transnational organized crime in the region generates a large number of victims and requires a comprehensive, coordinated and concerted response, not only at the national but also at the regional level."
The Director for Democratic Security of the General Secretariat of the Central American Integration System (SICA), Vinicio Martínez, highlighted the progress made in building greater citizen security in Central America within the framework of the Central American Security Strategy (ESCA) and invited participants to continue making use of this tool to improve the living conditions of the citizens of the region.
Finally, the Coordinator of the Training Center of the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AECID), María Luisa Aumesquet expressed her interest in supporting initiatives like this from the Training Centre of the Spanish Cooperation, while stressed the long history of cooperation between the AECID, the OAS and the Central American Integration System (SICA).
The event, entitled the "First Technical Meeting for the Identification of Mechanisms and Procedures for the Assistance and Protection of victims, Witnesses and Others" provided a space for the exchange of national experiences and practices and facilitated the identification of guidelines for development of a regional manual for the protection and assistance to victims and witnesses to strengthen a coordinated and effective response at the national and regional level, by the state institutions that are responsible for protection and assistance.
This activity is part of the project "Strengthening of Specialized Institutions in the Assistance and Protection of Victims of Violence Generated by Organized Crime in Central America," an initiative of the Department of Public Security of the OAS, which is run in partnership with the General Secretariat of SICA, and with the financial contribution of AECID. The project is developed under the ESCA, and promotes the implementation of the "Central American Convention for the protection of victims, witnesses, experts and other persons involved in the investigation and criminal proceedings, particularly drug trafficking and organized crime."
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.