15 organizaciones llaman a una investigación de la masacre en Nacahuil

Estimado Presidente Otto Pérez Molina:

Las organizaciones abajo firmantes expresamos nuestras condolencias a la comunidad de San José Nacahuil y a las familias  que perdieron a sus seres queridos el sábado 7 de septiembre. En solidaridad con ellos, llamamos al gobierno guatemalteco a realizar una investigación exhaustiva e imparcial sobre este hecho de violencia, especialmente sobre las acusaciones de participación de agentes de la Policía Nacional Civil (PNC).

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15 organizations call for an investigation in the Nacahuil massacre

Esteemed President Otto Pérez Molina,

The undersigned organizations express our condolences to the community of San José Nacahuil and to the families of those who lost loved ones this past Saturday, September 7th. In solidarity with them, we call on the Guatemalan government to carry out a thorough and impartial investigation into the deadly attack, especially into allegations of police involvement.

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GHRC Target of Hate for Commemorating Victims of Genocide

On Saturday, we at GHRC had the pleasure of taking part in a powerful art installation in Washington, DC. After three years of preparation, the organization One Million Bones blanketed a section of the National Mall with bones made of various materials to bring attention to genocide committed around the world. The organizers of One Million Bones had extended a special invitation to GHRC and the Guatemala community to take part and commemorate Guatemala’s genocide victims.

GHRC staff, interns and volunteers, joined thousands of others in laying out the bones. Our group took the opportunity to read the names of the victims in the Ixil Triangle included in the charges against former generals Ríos Montt and Rodríguez Sánchez.

onemillionbonesWe posted a photo of the event on our Facebook page on Saturday afternoon, and were shocked to see the response. Our wall was covered by an energetic debate about genocide in Guatemala. It was heartwarming to see all the comments in support of justice for victims, but sad to see that there were also many comments full of hate, anger, and denial of the crimes committed against Guatemala’s indigenous people.

Unfortunately, many of the people who posted on our wall are the same people who have been spreading the same messages of hate and denial in the Guatemalan media and organizing protests in support of those who committed atrocities.

The courageous genocide survivors, along with their lawyers, the judges, and the organizations who support justice, have been victim to this type of attack constantly since the Ríos Montt trial began. The messages in the media in Guatemala are not just slander. They are threats of violence. For example, Ricardo Méndez Ruiz, founder of the Foundation Against Terrorism, who posted on our wall, said in an interview with Guatemalan TV station Guatevision that the civil society leaders pushing for justice could be assassinated. In his post on GHRC’s facebook page, he called us a “terrorist organization.”

We don’t want to hide this debate going on in Guatemalan society, but we adamantly condemn the use of defamation, threats and messages of hate. We would love to see our page covered with messages of support for justice and for the victims and survivors of genocide. Can you add your voice

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Civil Society Organizations Call for New Security Model, Demilitarization, Human Rights

(Antigua, June 6) More than 160 civil society organizations representing hundreds of thousands of citizens in Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and the United States, sent an open letter to the OAS General Assembly today calling for alternatives to the war on drugs that guarantee respect for human rights.

Our organizations have documented an alarming increase in violence and human rights violations. While we recognize that transnational crime and drug-trafficking play a role in this violence, we call on our governments to acknowledge that failed security policies that have militarized citizen security have only exacerbated the problem, and are directly contributing to increased human suffering in the region,” the letter states.

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GHRC and NISGUA hand over 2800 signatures demanding the release of Rubén Herrera

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Since Friday, March 15, Rubén Herrera, member of the Departmental Assembly of Huehuetenango for the Defense of Natural Resources has been imprisoned in Huehuetenango, Guatemalaemala. He is charged with crimes including kidnapping and terrorism allegedly committed in relation to resistance to the Cambalam hydroelectric dam, operated by Spanish owned Hidro Santa Cruz. Citing irregularities in his case, over 2800 people from 52 countries have signed a petition to Guatemala’s Public Prosecutor’s Office and President Otto Pérez Molina calling for Herrera’s immediate release. On May 22, GHRC and NISGUA staff handed over the signatures to the Prosecutor’s Office.

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Ante el estado de sitio en Santa Rosa y Jalapa, Guatemala

La Comisión de Derechos Humanos de Guatemala expresa su profunda preocupación frente a la imposición de un estado de sitio en dos municipios del departamento de Jalapa y dos de Santa Rosa, que viene como parte de un patrón de ataques contra las comunidades, sus líderes y otros defensores de derechos humanos.

La Unidad de Protección a Defensoras y Defensores de Derechos Humanos (UDEFEGUA), ha registrado 328 agresiones en contra de defensores en lo que va del año 2013. Los que se oponen a proyectos mineros han sido víctimas de una gran parte de estas agresiones. Trágicamente, estos hechos rara vez resultan en investigaciones adecuadas y en la sanción de los responsables, contribuyendo a un ambiente peligroso de impunidad.

Ahora, a un año de haber decretado estado de sitio en el municipio de Barillas Huehuetenango, el día 2 de mayo el gobierno de Otto Pérez Molina, decretó estado de sitio en los municipios de Jalapa y Mataquescuintla del Departamento de Jalapa y los municipios de Casillas y San Rafael las Flores del Departamento de Santa Rosa.

El informe de verificación realizado por Waqib Kej, ha registrado abusos de autoridad, intimidación hacia la población, el uso desmesurado de la fuerza, irrespeto a la población, especialmente hacia las mujeres al momento de realizar los allanamientos a sus casas, robos de bienes y dinero durante los registros de los hogares, incluso se habla de la muerte de un menor de edad, como consecuencia de que su madre, al iniciar labor de parto no pudo salir para ser atendida.

Nos preocupa considerablemente la reiteración del uso de la figura del estado de sitio, sobre todo cuando se aprovecha para perseguir y detener a líderes comunitarios, defensores de derechos humanos de sus comunidades. Las comunidades han sido enfáticas a través de consultas comunitarias de buena fe, que el gobierno no ha querido reconocer y que peor aún obvia y concede licencias a proyectos mineros.

Otro elemento que preocupa son las declaraciones dadas por el Ministro de Gobernación Mauricio López Bonilla y el Presidente de la República a medios de comunicación que pretenden confundir y señalan que el estado de sitio se estableció porque en los lugares se realizan actividades de narcotráfico, sicariato, crimen organizado. Señalan que nada tiene que ver el desacuerdo de la población a la minería, pero ya se han realizado varios allanamientos a las viviendas de lideres. A la vez, han hecho señalamientos directos hacia el Parlamento Xinca y hay órdenes de captura para algunos de sus miembros.

López Bonilla afirmó que las personas capturadas hasta el momento no forman parte de estructuras del narcotráfico, pero sí de bandas dedicadas al sicariato, extorsión y otros delitos. Hay más de 40 órdenes de captura vigentes y hasta el momento se han realizado 18 detenciones.

En Santa Rosa y Jalapa, la gran mayoría de los pobladores afectados por el estado de sitio ejercían su derecho de defender su medio ambiente, en el caso de San Rafael las Flores la población realizaba una manifestación pacífica cerca de las instalaciones del proyecto El Escobal, de la Minera San Rafael, S.A., subsidiaria de la empresa canadiense Tahoe Resources.

Manifestamos nuestra preocupación sobre el uso de la militarización y la suspensión de los derechos constitucionales y exhortamos a las autoridades guatemaltecas para que actúen con respeto a los derechos humanos de la población.

Organizations Call on US & Mesoamerican Presidents to Reevaluate Regional Security Policies

Press Release
April 30, 2013

Washington, DC – Over 150 international, regional and local organizations from 10 countries have come together to address presidents from the US and Mesoamerica on the eve of their summit.

Organizations have expressed concern about rising rates of violence and call on governments to “acknowledge that failed security policies that have militarized citizen security have only exacerbated the problem, and are directly contributing to increased human suffering in the region.” Examples from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and the United States demonstrate that militarization has weakened public institutions, led to thousands of civilian deaths, and has done nothing to decrease transnational organized crime or make citizens safer.

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In response to the new wave of attacks against human rights defenders/Frente a la nueva ola de ataques contra defensores

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While the world watches the historic case against the generals Efraín Ríos Montt and José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity, indigenous peoples and human rights defenders are suffering persecution very similar to that perpetrated in the 1980s.

During the internal armed conflict, Mayan peoples in Guatemala were persecuted, displaced and brutally massacred. At the same time, union leaders, students, catechists and peasants – those who spoke out to defend their rights – were disappeared and systematically assassinated by the state. This violence was carried out as part of a government strategy to maintain an economic system that benefited a small minority of elite families, leaving the indigenous majority marginalized and in conditions of poverty. The State tried to justify its tactics by labeling these citizens as “internal enemies” who threatened Guatemala’s stability.

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Organizaciones saludan avance en Caso Genocidio

En un pronunciamiento público del 16 de abril, decenas de organizaciones y juristas respaldaron el proceso judicial contra Ríos Montt y Rodríguez Sánchez.

La carta recuerda que “han transcurrido cuatro semanas desde que inició el histórico juicio en contra de los generales en retiro José Efraín Ríos Montt y José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez por su participación en la comisión de los delitos de genocidio y delitos contra los deberes de humanidad en perjuicio de la población maya ixil”.

Expresa que “los imputados Ríos Montt y Rodríguez Sánchez no se encuentran en ninguna situación de desigualdad jurídica que limite el ejercicio de sus derechos” y expresaron su preocupación por el uso abusivo de la figura del amparo.

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Organizations denounce approval of mining license in wake of violence / Organizaciones denuncian licencia minera

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 8, 2013

Mining License Approved in Wake of Violence, Investigation into Murder Pending

(Washington, D.C.) – After more than two years of delay, the Guatemalan Minister of Energy and Mines (MEM) announced on Wednesday, April 3, that it had approved the exploitation license for Tahoe Resources’ Escobal mine in San Rafael Las Flores, Guatemala. The announcement comes less than two weeks after four indigenous Xinca leaders were abducted while returning from a community referendum in El Volcancito, in which more than 99 percent of people voted against the Escobal project. One of those abducted was found dead the next day.

“That MEM issued the license while the investigation of our friend Exaltación Marcos Ucelo’s murder is still pending is not only an affront to Exaltación’s memory, but it is also a violation of our right to consent,” said Roberto González, President of the Xinca Parliament, who was one of the four abducted, only to be released hours later. “If there is impunity for outright murder, how can we expect the Guatemalan government to protect us from harmful contamination generated by mining operations?”

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