Central American Ombudsmen Agree to Establish Early Warning System for Genocide Prevention

NEW YORK, March 25, 2013 – The Central American Council of Human Rights Ombudsmen agreed to establish an early warning system for genocide prevention during its 46th plenary conference, held March 18–20 in Panama City, Panama.

The early warning system was presented to the Council jointly by the Auschwitz Institute’s Latin American Program Coordinator, Christopher Kousouros, and a delegation from the Paraguayan Office of the Ombudsman.

The primary agenda for the conference was policy development on genocide and mass atrocity prevention, and sexual diversity in Central America. Participating were the ombudsmen from Belize, Panama, El Salvador, and Costa Rica.

The ombudsmen agreed to work in cooperation with the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect to establish the early warning system, to participate actively in the Latin American Network for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention (“La Red”), and to inform their governments about the Network and its activities.

An ombudsman is a public official charged with investigating human rights violations. Ombudsmen may be elected democratically or appointed by the government.

All seven member states of the Central American Council of Human Rights Ombudsmen — Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Panama — agreed to participate in these initiatives, both individually and as a regional body.