A total of 328 Ombudsmen and human rights defenders have suffered threats and attacks in Guatemala in 2017 (from January to October), of which 72 were indigenous leaders, which is 25% more than the previous year (263). Also, according to the Organization UDEFEGUA, 55 people were murdered for defending their rights and those of their communities, a situation which for Alliance solidarity highlights the vulnerability of those who defend their territories in the country Central American, in many cases against big business macro-proyectos which is not taken into account the environmental impact and there is no prior, free and informed consultation to affected communities.
El último informe de UDEFEGUA destaca que el 40% de estas agresiones y amenazas fueron contra mujeres, quienes están protagonizando muchas de las movilizaciones por la defensa de derechos y cuyo liderazgo está más invisibilizado. La mayor parte de los casos fueron delitos de difamación, seguidos de asesinatos, intimidaciones y denuncias judiciales contra defensores y defensoras.
Alianza por la Solidaridad denuncia que, justo un año después de que el Parlamento Europeo aprobara una resolución instando al Gobierno de Guatemala a adoptar medidas urgentes de protección para los defensores de los derechos, la situación por tanto no sólo no ha mejorado, sino que esté empeorando.
Proof of this is the reform, currently under discussion in the country, the law of non-governmental organizations for development, which aims to control, bureaucratized and limit the freedom of action and expression of NGOs, both national as foreigners in Guatemala, demanding they are limited to actions in health care sectors and no complaint. At the same time, it has been proposed the reform the criminal code, so that is considered as crime of terrorism (common in demonstrations and protests) traffic obstruction and cyberterrorism as the use of social networks to criticize and require the Government's actions.
Alliance for solidarity recalls that, along with threats and attacks, there are also cases of prosecution by the defense of the territory, as it is the case, among others, the leading q 'eqchí' Bernardo Caal Xol, in prison after leading the protests in defense of the Cahabón River front of large hydroelectric projects (OXEC and REBORN). Caal Xol is in jail since January 30 under accusations without evidence, carried out by the first of these companies workers. In the second, he is REBORN, is the Spanish company Grupo Cobra (ACS), subcontracted to do the work involved. In this case, are being developed mobilizations and cut roads in the communities of the Cahabón demanding their freedom, ignored by companies and authorities.
Alliance solidarity has launched a campaign of collecting signatures, with the support of Greenpeace Spain and the Guatemalan NGO honeysuckle, which also demands the immediate release of the leader q 'eqchí' and it expressed concern at harassment and criminalization against those who fight in defense of the land, water and the environment.
The NGO recalls that the European Parliament in its resolution of 16 February 2017, asked the EU and its States members, adopted binding international agreements to strengthen respect for human rights, especially in the case of companies with headquarters and n Europe working in third countries, a matter in which no progress has been made.
In fact, in Spain, ACS castles in which its participation as subcontractor excuse you from responsibility for the respect for human rights or the environment. In this way, leaves unanswered the delivery, last November, the most of 25,500 signatures that calls for it to paralyze the work of REBORN, un proyecto que afecta a unos 30 kms de cauce del río Cahabón y a 29.000 indígenas. Con estas firmas se le pedía que paralizaran las obras hasta que haya una consulta comunitaria y un informe de impacto socio-ambiental completo que asegure el respeto de los derechos humanos y el ecosistema del territorio indígena.