Guatemala City, December 11, 2018 – On the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Office of Human Rights of the Archdiocese of Guatemala (ODHAG) handed over the Order Monsignor Juan José Gerardi Condera to human rights 2018, to four organizations, UDEFEGUA, Antigua al Rescate, María Eugenia Berger Fernández and the Casa del Migrante Guatemala, of the Missionaries of San Charles Scalabrinians.
The Order was granted to the Casa del Migrante for its 25 years of work in favor of migrants and refugees, as well as for its recent response to the humanitarian crisis caused by the migration of thousands of Hondurans and Salvadorans, organized in caravans and on the way to the North.
The Director of ODHAG, Nery Rodenas, spoke about the meaning and objectives of the delivery of the Order « The awarding of this recognition aims to recognize the trajectory in defense of human rights and the historical memory of the country. It is a way to keep alive the work of Gerardi « , assassinated on April 26, 1998, about 54 hours after presenting the report Memories of Silence, Guatemala Never Again, which documented more than thousands of human rights violations attributed to the Guatemalan Army during the internal armed conflict (1960-1996) that was experienced in the country.
With the delivery of these recognitions, the Catholic Church wants to contribute to the construction of a more just and less exclusive society.
In his words of gratitude, Fr. Mauro Verzeletti, Director of Casa del Mirante, referred to Article 3 of the Declaration of Human Rights, where he affirms the right of all people to move freely, to leave and return when they need it. « But it is not true in all countries. « I hope that migration policies treat migrants and refugees in a different way, » he said.
Fr. Mauro Verzeletti, also thanked the tireless team of Casa del Migrante for its unlimited service during the caravans of Central American migrants. He also thanked the cooperating agencies, the volunteers, the social communication media and all the « Guatemalan people who gave us a hand, » he said.
Fr. Mauro Verzeletti concluded by calling on everyone to fight for justice and solidarity with migrants, deportees, refugees, marginalized and excluded people, especially with the most vulnerable, such as children and adolescents, young people and women workers victims of violence and abandonment. Fr. Mauro concluded his speech with the following phrase: « A nation will rise from the ashes only when Democracy and Human Rights are embraced and kissed. »
By L. Oliva
Photo by Jorge Campos and L. Oliva