Depoliticised Speech and Sexed Visibility: Women, Gender and Sexual Violence in the Guatemalan Comisión para el Esclarecimiento Histórico Report


Rosser, Emily. 2007. “Depoliticised Speech and Sexed Visibility: Women, Gender and Sexual Violence in the 1999 Guatemalan Comisión Para El Esclarecimiento Histórico Report.” International Journal of Transitional Justice 1 (3): 391–410. doi:10.1093/ijtj/ijm032.

Author: Emily Rosser


This paper analyses how concepts of gender, sexual violence and women functioned within the 1999 Guatemalan Commission for Historical Clarification (CEH). Through a discourse analysis of the text of the CEH report, I argue that because the Commission presents data about sexual violence without a more broadly integrated gender analysis, it fails to recognise indigenous women, or their claims, as political and thus reinforces their marginality. I situate this report in the context of universalising discourses of human rights and democratisation, in which women's participation is held up as evidence of gender correctness while what they say is often of less concern. Amidst calls for gender mainstreaming and ‘women's rights as human rights,’ truth commissions and human rights bodies must work harder at the conceptual level to interrogate how gender, ‘race,’ class, nation and other intersecting oppressions are at work, both during a genocide and afterwards, in the construction of truths and the reconstruction of societies.

Topics: Gender, Women, Justice, TRCs, Post-Conflict, Race, Rights, Indigenous Rights, Sexual Violence Regions: Americas, Central America Countries: Guatemala

Year: 2007

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