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Guatemalan AG raids Save the Children office over a migrant children rights complaint

An agent from the attorney general's office carries evidence collected at Save the Children's headquarters during a raid in Guatemala City on Thursday, April 25, 2024.
Moises Castillo
/
AP
An agent from the attorney general's office carries evidence collected at Save the Children's headquarters during a raid in Guatemala City on Thursday, April 25, 2024.

GUATEMALA CITY — Guatemalan prosecutors raided the offices of the charity Save the Children on Thursday, citing a complaint alleging the violation of migrant children's rights.

Prosecutor Rafael Curruchiche said in a video to media that the complaint filed by an unidentified foreigner had raised serious concerns because it involved allegations of abuse of children.

The raid came a week after the secretary general of Guatemala's Public Ministry, Ángel Pineda, wrote a letter to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asking for support in addressing allegations that Save the Children and other aid groups "could be participating in child trafficking operations."

Curruchiche said the raid was intended to search for any documents that might support the accusations. The prosecutor's office did not say whether Paxton responded to the request.

Curruchiche and Pineda have been accused of trying to undermine the country's democracy by participating in a failed effort to prevent anti-corruption President Bernardo Arévalo from taking power as well as hindering the anti-corruption fight in the Central American nation. Those efforts have led to more than 40 countries sanctioning them, including the United States and the European Union.

The raid comes amid historic levels of migration to the United States, in which Guatemala has been both a country that people migrate from and a transit route that they use on their way north.

Save the Children, which is dedicated to caring for children in crisis zones, has been working in Guatemala since 1976. It did not comment on Thursday's raid, but it issued a statement last week indicating it was aware of the allegations saying it has no evidence the allegations are true.

"We take the allegations of children's safety and misconduct very seriously and have independent investigative mechanisms in place to investigate thoroughly," the charity's statement said. "We have no evidence to validate such allegations and we continue to work hard to provide humanitarian assistance to migrant children and their families under strict safety and protection standards."

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

The Associated Press