- Title: Guatemalan activist searching for Civil War justice a Nobel Prize hopeful
- Date: 1st October 2016
- Summary: GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA (FILE) (REUTERS) ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS MARCHING COBAN, ALTA VERAPAZ, GUATEMALA (FILE) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF BANNER WITH PHOTOS OF MISSING PEOPLE AND WHICH READS "ASSOCIATION FOR THE DETAINED-DISAPPEARED FAMILIES OF GUATEMALA" (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR OF THE ASSOCIATION FOR THE DETAINED-DISAPPEARED FAMILIES OF GUATEMALA (FAMDEGUA), AURA ELENA FARFAN, SAYING: "It's been 21 years, 21 years of fighting, working so much in exhumations and on legal issues, taking up legal cases." GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA (FILE) (REUTERS) RED CARNATIONS ON CARDBOARD COFFINS DURING PROTEST FARFAN STANDING AND HOLDING WHITE BALLOON DURING PROTEST PICTURE OF MISSING PERSON ON GRASS FARFAN AND PROTESTERS RELEASING WHITE BALLOONS WHITE BALLOONS IN SKY FARFAN IN AUDIENCE DURING HEARING AGAINST FORMER GUATEMALAN PRESIDENT AND ARMY GENERAL EFRAIN RIOS MONTT ON GENOCIDE CHARGES GENERAL VIEW OF AUDIENCE AT HEARING FORMER GUATEMALAN PRESIDENT RIOS MONTT DURING HEARING PEOPLE LISTENING AT HEARING (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR OF THE ASSOCIATION FOR THE DETAINED-DISAPPEARED FAMILIES OF GUATEMALA (FAMDEGUA), AURA ELENA FARFAN, SAYING: "From December 6th to 8th in 1982 an elite patrol entered the area of Dos Erres with 40 members of the army, ex Kaibiles." PARTICIPANT CRYING DURING HEARING FORMER KAIBIL SOLDIER PEDRO PIMENTEL DURING HEARING FARFAN TAKING NOTES DURING HEARING PIMENTEL DURING HEARING COBAN, ALTA VERAPAZ, GUATEMALA (FILE) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF HUMAN REMAINS FROM MASS GRAVE SKULL MORE OF REMAINS / FAMILY MEMBERS WATCHING
- Embargoed: 16th October 2016 10:59
- Keywords: human rights activist Aura Elena Farfan civil war Nobel Peace Prize
- Location: GUATEMALA CITY AND COBAN, ALTA VERAPAZ, GUATEMALA
- City: GUATEMALA CITY AND COBAN, ALTA VERAPAZ, GUATEMALA
- Country: Guatemala
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA001526VJ2F
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT INCLUDES MATERIAL THAT WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3
Guatemalan human rights activist Aura Elena Farfan has emerged as a Nobel Peace Prize hopeful for her efforts to seek justice for the hundreds of thousands who died in the country's brutal Civil War.
About 200,000 people died and 45,000 others disappeared during Guatemala's civil war that lasted from 1960 to 1996.
A United Nations-backed Truth Commission set up under the 1996 peace accords concluded that the military was responsible for more than 85 percent of human rights violations during the war, many of them against Mayan Indians.
She has spent more than two decades as an activist and her organisation FAMDEGUA (Association For The Detained-Disappeared Families of Guatemala) has led efforts to exhume mass graves, identify the remains of Civil War victims and prosecute those responsible for crimes committed.
"It's been 21 years, 21 years of fighting, working so much in exhumations and on legal issues, taking up legal cases," she said.
Her work began with the search for her brother, a university student who went missing in 1984 during the Civil War and still remains missing.
However, during her activism Guatemala has made many advances in the search for justice for the Civil War dead.
In 2011, four soldiers received 6,060-year prison sentences for mass killings of more than 200 indigenous Mayans in the northern village of Dos Erres in 1982 at the height of the Civil War.
But Farfan has also seen many setbacks in her search for justice.
An 80-year-sentence for genocide for former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt was thrown out amidst a retrial in the controversial case which has since been suspended.
Rios Montt has been accused of turning a blind eye whilst the Kaibiles, Guatemala's special forces, committed human rights abuses.
"From December 6th to 8th in 1982 an elite patrol entered the area of Dos Erres with 40 members of the army, ex Kaibiles," declared Farfan in a trial against soldiers accused of taking part in the Dos Erres massacre.
The Nobel Peace Prize will be announced in Oslo on Friday October 7 at 1100 a.m. (0900GMT).
The prize, worth 10 million Swedish crowns (1.4 million U.S. dollars) will be awarded to its recipient or joint recipients on December 10, 2016.
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