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A UN report denounces 39 murders of leaders in Guatemala in just two years

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Bernardo esposao2
Rosa M. Tristán

Almost 900 cases of assaults in one of the most dangerous countries in the world to defend human rights and environmental

A total of 39 people human rights defenders were murdered in Guatemala between 2017 and 2018, according to the report prepared by the Office of the human rights of the country and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for human rights in Guatemala, which has had access Alliance solidarity. The document contains a total of 493 attacks and attacks of various kinds in 2017When there was 13 murders, attacks and 391 (with 26 murders) in 2018. For Alliance solidarity increase in these attacks, as well as the criminalization of which are covered, is related to an increase of pressure on the territories due to the exploitation of natural resources and calls for decisive actions International to put brake.

Alliance for solidarity, which develops from three years ago a campaign of support to communities facing not responsible investments, TieRRRa considered these very alarming data and requires official measures in Guatemala to put a stop to this violence, as well as an increase of international pressure given its urgency.

196 defenders people interviewed in the report of the United Nations, 86% ensures have suffered attacks and threats between March 1, 2019 and January 1, 2017 and more than half has been victim of multiple assaults. The intimidation and threats, said almost all the people interviewed were written (especially in social networks and digital media) or verbal (in person or by phone). 16% suffered physical attacks by shooting, attacks with melee weapon and even abuses; 3% was the subject of sexual assault. In these attacks, noted, were political actors involved, organized crime, private security, companies and people hired by third parties.

Alliance stresses that leading people of indigenous peoples are those who, according to the data, more threats suffer, what is happening in the context of the defence of their lands and natural resources in a country in which "unrecognized indigenous customary rights facing the" increase in the mining, energy and agro-industrial projects on a large scale". The NGO researches developed in Alta Verapaz have documented serious violations of rights in indigenous communities in several projects with involvement of Spanish companies.

The report documents 106 cases of criminalization (improper use of criminal law to control, punish or prevent the exercise of the right of defence) after acts of protest called in the absence of dialogue. Mentions the sentence to the leader that ' qchi Bernardo Caal Xol, defender of the rivers of Alta Verapaz against hydroelectric and collaborator of Alliance solidarity. Caal Xol was convicted last November to more than seven years in prison in a judicial process developed with many irregularities. You can find out with more detail of the case and ask your release with your signature #LIBERTADPARABERNARDO.

Prisoner in Coban from January of 2017, this Mayan leader just been awarded the "Quetzal" by human rights afforded by the Belgian NGO Guatebelga. The delivery will be made on October 22 in the Kazerne Dossin (a Museum in memory of the deportees in World War II), while you can hardly attend.

In the document, the UN points out that "there are serious concerns about bias and possible capture of actors in the justice system, especially at the local level" and aims to ensure that these defenders enter prison immediately, are alleged to crimes so they require, as improper usurpation or sequestration, although evidence is inconsistent. These attacks not only have a double effect muffler on a personal level, but also in community and social issues.

Research detects system corruption and impunity "weaken the process of defence and promotion of human rights" and "disproportionately affects people marginalized in terms of economic and political power" in Guatemala.

Therefore, structural changes are also recommended to eradicate the situation of violence and corruption to the defenders of human rights in the country, as it is a reform on the protection of activism and improvements in the judicial system.

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