Last Updated: Thursday, 18 December 2014, 14:40 GMT

Guatemala: Information on whether the law on military service has been amended since 1988, particularly with regard to the obligation to serve in the army, whether a 25-year-old Guatemalan male returnee from abroad would be required to serve if he was not drafted before he left Guatemala, and whether there is any organized follow-up on such individuals

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 January 1996
Citation / Document Symbol GTM22898.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Guatemala: Information on whether the law on military service has been amended since 1988, particularly with regard to the obligation to serve in the army, whether a 25-year-old Guatemalan male returnee from abroad would be required to serve if he was not drafted before he left Guatemala, and whether there is any organized follow-up on such individuals, 1 January 1996, GTM22898.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6ac747.html [accessed 19 December 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

 

Information on military service and forced recruitment in Guatemala can be found in the following Responses to Information Requests: GTM17710.F of 15 June 1994, GTM17785.E of 4 July 1995 and GTM21776.E of 25 September 1995.

A military attaché at the Embassy of the Republic of Guatemala in Washington, DC, during a 29 January 1996 telephone interview stated that the military service law has not been amended since 1988. Under the current conscription law, all male Guatemalan citizens of 18 years and above must register for military service. The length of service is still 30 months and there are grounds for permanent and temporary exemptions.

The military attaché added that the bill for a new military service law submitted under the Carpio government is still being discussed in the Guatemalan Congress. According to a 23 December 1994 Guatemala Human Rights Update report, the bill proposed to reduce the obligatory period of military service from 30 to 18 months (6).

The military attaché also stated that a 25-year-old Guatemalan who was not drafted when he was in Guatemala will be required to register for military service upon his return to Guatemala. The military attaché noted, however, that it is unlikely that such an individual would be called up by the army. According to the military attaché, the Guatemalan army is going through a process of downsizing and is "not recruiting" new soldiers except for volunteers. According to a 22 July 1994 Inter Press Service (IPS) report on forced military recruitment, on 30 June 1994 De León "announced that he had ordered the suspension of the draft until the Congress can pass [the] new law currently under discussion" (6).

Additional information to the above can not be found among the sources consulted by the DIRB.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

        Inter Press Service (IPS). 22 July 1994. "President Accused of Forced Recruitment." (Central America Newspak [Austin, Tex]. 11-24 July 1994. No. 220. p. 6)

Embassy of the Republic of Guatemala in Washington, DC. 29 January 1996. Telephone interview with a military attaché.

Guatemala Human Rights Update [Washington, DC]. 23 December 1994. No. 25. "De León Carpio Introduces New Military Service Law."

Attachments

        Inter Press Service (IPS). 22 July 1994. "President Accused of Forced Recruitment." (Central America Newspak [Austin, Tex]. 11-24 July 1994. No. 220. p. 6)

Guatemala Human Rights Update [Washington, DC]. 23 December 1994. No. 25. "De León Carpio Introduces New Military Service Law," p. 6.

Sources Consulted

        Amnesty International "Guatemala" country file. January 1991-Present.

Caribbean and Central America Report [London]. 17 January 1991-25 January 1996.

Central America Newspak [Austin, Tex]. 13 January 1991-7 January 1996.

Central America Report [Guatemala City]. 11 January 1991-15 December 1995.

Foreign Broadcasts Information Services (FBIS) Daily Reports. 2 January 1991-16 January 1996.

Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA [Washington, DC]. Vol. 10, No. 2-Vol. 13, No. 3 and 4.

Guatemala Human Rights Update [Washington, DC]. 14 January 1991-29 December 1995.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

Search Refworld

Countries