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Sarah Dickson

Ambassador to Guatemala (June 2012 - June 2015)

Part of FCDO Human Rights UK in Guatemala

15th March 2013

Tour for Life: Campaign against violence

This week the Embassy helped Jovenes Por Guatemala (JXG) launch the next phase of their campaign to break the cycle of violent culture in the home.  Regular followers of the Embassy’s work on this campaign will remember JXGs 2012 event, the Subida por la vida – the “Climb for Life” up the Agua volcano in January last year. The main purpose of that event was to raise the profile of the issues of intrafamilial violence and break the habit of silence that surrounds domestic violence. More than 18,000 people, including the President of Guatemala, climbed the volcano and showed through their actions that they supported the campaign slogan of teach love not violence.

Ambassador with Jovenes por Guatemala in press conference

This year the next phase of the campaign is to take the message to the schools of Guatemala. The “Tour for Life” is a series of free concerts in schools throughout Guatemala, given by the excellent Guatemalan band El Tambor de la Tribu – the Tribal Drum.  Using music and positive role models, these concerts aim to reinforce the points of earlier campaign activity that domestic violence is not acceptable and that young people should feel empowered to change the culture. Jovenes Por Guatemala, with the support of the Ministry of Education, The British Embassy and of course the band themselves (who are all giving their time for free), aim to reach a cross section of society including in some of the areas of the country most affected by violence. This is not the end of the process and the project has more action to go including training packs for schools and improving the response and means of reporting such crimes. All of which, as JXG have said, should contribute to saving lives.

Ambassador Sarah Dickson during media interviews

This week also saw International Women’s and Guatemala’s national day of combating violence against children. The British government believes strongly in the prevention of violence and supports the actions of Guatemalans to resolve those issues nationally. At the international level both governments also see eye to eye on the UN Security Council preventing sexual violence in conflict initiative. So you won’t be surprised if I write more about this topic this year and I would be grateful for your inputs and ideas to make our work as successful as possible.

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