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Tragedy in Guatemala highlights a broken system

Friday, March 17, 2017


On March 7, a team from an international human-rights group arrived in Guatemala to evaluate state-run institutions for disabled people. One stop on their itinerary was the Hogar Seguro Virgen de la Asunción, a shelter for indigent children, which had been the subject of reports about sexual abuse, violence and overcrowding.

The team arrived too late. That night, a fire engulfed a girls’ dormitory, killing at least 40 adolescents and severely injuring a dozen.

The fire is “an indictment of the whole social-service system in Guatemala”, says Eric Rosenthal, director of the Disability Rights organization. The group found violence, neglect and forced prostitution at several state-run institutions.

Source: The Economist