Please join us this Wednesday for a public event sponsored by GHRC, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL):
“GUATEMALA AT A CROSSROADS”
With a panel of prominent human rights defenders from Guatemala:
Iduvina Hernández (SEDEM), Claudia Samayoa and Jorge Santos (UDEFEGUA), Maya Alvarado (UNAMG) and Mario Avalos (ICCPG)
Date: Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Live Streaming of the Event is available: ustre.am/1iiQE
*Please note: this event will be in Spanish with no translation
Invitan al Foro Público:
“GUATEMALA EN LA ENCRUCIJADA”
Con la participación de destacados defensores y defensoras de derechos humanos de Guatemala:
Iduvina Hernández (SEDEM), Claudia Samayoa y Jorge Santos (UDEFEGUA), Maya Alvarado (UNAMG), y Mario Avalos (ICCPG)
Fecha: miercoles, 6 de mayo, 2015
Siga el evento vía streaming: ustre.am/1iiQE
Joe Biden met with the presidents of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras to discuss in detail the Alliance for Prosperity Plan. Following an initial meeting, Biden and the presidents of the Northern Triangle countries payed a visit to the Ixchel Museum to meet with members of the private sector, where Biden stressed the need for business owners to invest in their own countries.
Biden also urged Guatemala to continue the mandate of the International Commission Against Impunity (CICIG), and met with CICIG Commissioner Velazquez to underscore the importance of the commission’s work. In a response to Biden’s comments, President Pérez Molina rejected the notion of using the extension of the CICIG as a precondition for receiving US funding.
Human rights groups The Observatory and UDEFEGUA have launched a report and documentary film about the vulnerability of human rights defenders in Guatemala. The report highlights the targeting of land rights defenders via criminalization, threats and physical violence. Continue reading
In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, women human rights defenders from the Alliance Against Criminalization held a press conference today in Guatemala City, commemorating the historic struggle of women’s resistance movements in Guatemala and calling for greater protections for female land and human rights defenders. Read their statement below (the original Spanish version is also available below).
The Alliance Against Criminalization: Commemorating International Women’s Day
We, women defenders of human rights and natural resources — from a diversity of identities and member organizations of the Alliance Against Criminalization — come together today to commemorate the historic struggle of our mothers and grandmothers. Supported by their resistance throughout the ages, we have the strength to confront all forms of domination over our bodies and over nature.
The issue of violence against women defenders is a patriarchal, historic, social and complex phenomenon that affects all aspects of our daily lives, whether we live in rural areas or urban cities. It also impacts the relationships we establish with our family, our community, our organizations and our State. Continue reading
(Leer en español abajo)
Today, GHRC joins Guatemalans as they commemorate the Day of Dignity for Victims of the Internal Armed Conflict.
It was on this day, in 1999, that the UN Historical Clarification Commission (CEH) released it’s report, Guatemala: Memory of Silence. The report’s extensive documentation and interviews with survivors helped Guatemala – and the world – understand the magnitude of the violence, including the widespread use of torture, sexual violence, forced disappearances, systematic human rights violations against the civilian population, and acts of genocide carried out by the State against Mayan peoples in four separate regions.
Today we also salute women survivors, who, in ever greater numbers, have chosen to break the silence about the violence they suffered. Continue reading
GHRC congratulates the Mesoamerican Women Human Rights Defenders Initiative for being chosen as the 2014 recipient of the Letelier-Moffitt International Award for Human Rights , presented by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS).
Co-founded in 2010 by Just Associates (JASS) Mesoamerica, the Mesoamerican Women Human Rights Defenders Initiative is a collaboration of five organizations, including GHRC partner UDEFEGUA.
The Initiative works to strengthen and protect female human rights activists in Mexico and Central America who are attacked and even killed for their work. It does this by providing women defenders with rapid-response networks, training in human rights, security and self-care, assistance in documenting cases of attacks and publishing in-depth gendered analysis of the violence the women defenders face.
 The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) created the Letelier-Moffitt International Award for Human Rights to honor the memory of Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier and Ronni Karpen Moffitt, IPS colleagues murdered in Washington D.C. in 1976 by a car bomb denoted by agents of Chile’s dictator Augusto Pinochet. While paying homage to Letelier and Moffitt, the award celebrates “new heroes of the human rights movement from the US and the Americas.”
Indigenous leaders publicly denounced Guatemalan government
Ixil, Q’anjob’al, Chuj, Akateko, K’iche’, Mam, Kaqchikel, Q’eqchi’, Ch’orti’, Poqomchi’, Achi’, Xinka and Mestizo leaders presented further proof that the Guatemalan government is racist and disregards lives of indigenous communities. Specifically, they denounced mining laws as unconstitutional and demanded changes.
Update on Ríos Montt Trial
At this point, about half of the 122 witnesses have testified. Prosecutor Orlando López has said that the over 900 pieces of evidence, including testimonies of genocide survivors, are enough to prove Ríos Montt and Rodriguez were intellectual authors of the slaughters of the Ixil population. On April 1, 2013, the court heard testimonies from 12 more witnesses who described the massacres, inhumane conditions and, in one instance, torture suffered during the time of Montt’s 1982-83 rule. Attorneys for the prosecution also arranged for forthcoming testimony from survivors of sexual assault.
Killing of human rights defender
On March 8, 2013, human rights defender and trade union leader Carlos Hernández Mendoza was killed. He was actively engaged in struggling for the right to free, prior and informed consent for indigenous communities whose lives and livelihoods are affected by large-scale dam construction and other projects in the region.
Ex military commissioner on trial for disappearance of student
On March 11, the High Risk Tribunal B (Tribunal Primero B de Mayor Riesgo) initiated a trial against ex military commissioner Isidro Cardona Osorio for the disappearance of a student in Chiquimula in 1982. He is charged with aggravated unlawful detention, abuse of authority, kidnapping, crimes against humanity and forced disappearance.