Saturday, March 21, 2009

Agreement Reached Over Security Plan

After a meeting on Tuesday lasting eight hours, with representatives of the Catholic and Evangelical churches, the Human Rights Procurator, and the University of San Carlos (USAC), discussing national security, President Alvaro Colom said that there is total agreement on all 76 points in the document.

The president pledged to meet with President of Congress, Roberto Alejos, Eliu Higuero, president of the judiciary and Amílcar Velasquez, attorney general and head of the Ministerio Publico, to discuss the pact for national security.

Nery Rodenas, of the Archbishop's Office of Human Rights, welcomed the consensus reached at the meeting.

The proposal for a security plan was formulated by the Catholic and Evangelical churches, USAC, and the PDH, when their representatives requested an emergency meeting with President Colom last week.

The president met with representatives of these four institutions after they made a public appeal to the government to discuss the proposal on security.

The president attended the meeting with Darío Pérez, president of the Evangelical Alliance, Estuardo Galvez, president of USAC, Cardinal Rodolfo Quezada Toruño, and Sergio Morales, Human Rights Procurator. They had complained last week that the president did not include the essence of their proposal in the government's security agenda. During the announcement, Morales pointed out that the government failed to take note of 69 percent of the proposal, which includes 12 items to reduce insecurity and violence.

Among the suggestions are to develop a national policy framework law for security and the creation of a Ministry of Public Security, the restructuring of the police, review of the background of staff, establishment of criminal investigation and a law for public safety.

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