After the Fire: Survivors of Hogar Seguro Virgen de la Asunción at risk – Findings and Recommendations for Action

Disability Rights International

From March 7-11, 2017  Disability Rights International (DRI) visited Hogar Seguro Virgen de la Asunción (Hogar Seguro), a public institution where more than 700 children were detained. DRI intereviewed the survivors of a fire that took place on March 7, 2017. This fire that killed more than three-dozen girl has gained international attention. In addition to Hogar Seguro, DRI visited several other institutions in Guatemala to interview survivors of the fire and assess the conditions of Guatemala's institutions.

DRI’s assessment finds that survivors of the fire at Hogar Seguro Virgen de la Asunción face immediate danger – including detention in other institutions where they face continued segregation and abuse.

There have also been reports of rape and forced prostitution. Children reported that they were afraid to spend another night in the institution. Survivors include young children, adolescents and adults with intellectual, psychosocial, and physical disabilities.

DRI expresses deep concern about the children who have been moved to other institutions throughout Guatemala.  Other sites visited are overwhelmed by the large number of children and adults, along with their diverse needs.

After review of the abusive record of care in Guatemalan orphanages, the UN Committee on the Rights of Children with Disabilities has called on Guatemala to stop placements in orphanages for all children – with or without disabilities.