Take Action: Denounce Repeated Threats Against Land Rights Defenders

Last week, Rafael Maldonado of the Center for Environmental and Social Legal Action (CALAS) received a series of death threats via social media — the latest in a continuing pattern of intimidation toward him since 2013. Maldonado serves as the Legal Director for CALAS, an organization that advocates for the collective rights of indigenous peoples in relation to environmental issues. Recently, CALAS has been involved in cases related to mining and African palm production in Guatemala.

Today, on International Human Rights Day, take a stand by denouncing these threats against Rafael Maldonado. Our partner Amnesty International Canada is circulating an urgent action campaign, and you can participate by writing immediately in English, Spanish, or your own language to:

  • Call on the authorities to order an independent, thorough and impartial investigation into the threats made against Rafael Maldonado and bring those responsible to justice;
  • Urge them to take immediate steps to provide full and appropriate protection to Rafael Maldonado, in accordance with his wishes;
  • Remind them that human rights defenders have a right to carry out their activities without any unfair restrictions or fear of reprisals, as set out in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.

Please send appeals before January 15 to:


Alejandro Maldonado Aguirre
Presidente de la República
Casa Presidencial 6a Avenida 4-41, Zona 1, Puerta del Centro,
Ciudad de Guatemala
Fax: +502 2221 4445Salutation: Dear President/ Estimado Sr. Presidente
Attorney General
Thelma Esperanza Aldana Hernández
Fiscal General de la República
Ministerio Público Gerona,
Ciudad de Guatemala
Fax: +502 2411 9124
Email: fiscalgeneral@pm.lex.gob.gt

Dear Attorney General / Estimada Sra. Fiscal General 
Copies can also be
sent to
:CALAS Av. Mariscal 13-59
zona 11
Ciudad de Guatemala
Fax: +502 24744545
Email: informacion@calas.org.gt

A History of Intimidation:

Rafael Maldonado is representing CALAS in an ongoing legal case against the palm oil company REPSA, which is accused of having contaminated the Pasión River in northern Guatemala this past summer. (Thank you to all our supporters who signed our joint petition calling for an investigation into the murder of Rigoberto Lima Choc, a community leader involved in filing the original complaint against REPSA.)

In addition, CALAS has been involved in a civil lawsuit against Canadian mining company Tahoe Resources. The case pertains to a violent attack by security guards on peaceful protesters outside the mine in 2013, which left seven people wounded. Alberto Rotondo, the company’s former director of security, is charged with ordering the attack — and just recently escaped police custody.

Guatemalan human rights group UDEFEGUA has also documented threatening incidents, including shots fired outside of CALAS’s office in Guatemala and anonymous written threats toward Maldonado. UDEFEGUA has requested protection measures for Rafael Maldonado from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; however, no measures have been granted.

Please help us keep the pressure on government authorities to protect human rights and land rights defenders by writing now to Guatemala’s President and Attorney General.

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