On the 20th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, defenders accompanied by PBI reflect on the importance of the Declaration as well as the accompaniment and international solidarity provided by organizations such as PBI.
In Guatemala, the number of human rights defenders murdered in 2018 continues to rise. Several indigenous leaders struggling to defend their lands are among those killed. As of September 21, twenty-one (women) human rights defenders have been killed in Guatemala this year. Read below for more updates from Guatemala.
Guatemalan Human Rights Ombudsman calls on government to investigate killings of HRDs
Over two weeks in September and October, PBI-USA staff members, Amelia Parker and Pat Davis, traveled to PBI projects in Mexico and Guatemala to visit with accompanied defenders and gain a better understanding of their struggles, spend time with PBI volunteers and learn about their daily activities, as well as meet with U.S. and international authorities to share PBI’s concerns regarding the current human rights situation facing the defenders we accompany. Below, we share a few stories from the field.
On October 16, President Donald Trump threatened to suspend all funding and aid to Honduras if a migrant caravan originating in Honduras and headed north is not stopped. When he made the statement, the caravan of some 3,000 immigrants had already crossed into Guatemala. "The United States has strongly informed the President of Honduras that if the large Caravan of people heading to the US is not stopped and brought back to Honduras, no more money or aid will be given to Honduras, effective immediately!" Trump tweeted.
Over three days, 40 human rights defenders from the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia came together in Brussels to exchange experiences and knowledge about holistic protection. This meeting allowed us to analyze the global tendencies that impact our risk as well as identify our common needs as a collective of human rights defenders. The sessions allowed us to construct a common narrative and key messages and recommendations to political actors in the European Union and its member states.
President Jimmy Morales Caps CICIG’s Work and Bars CICIG Head from the Country; Human Rights Leaders Surveilled and Harassed, Launch Week of Protests
Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales, in an August 31 press conference in Guatemala City, announced the non-renewal of the mandate of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG). The UN-backed body has been helping Guatemala’s courts fight corruption for the past eleven years.
During the week of June 18, 2018, PBI-USA hosted an advocacy speaking tour with leading human rights defenders from Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico. In Central America and Mexico, indigenous and environmental rights defenders are extremely vulnerable. At best, governments in the region fail to adequately protect defenders. At worst, government forces are complicit in the attacks against them.
June 13, 2018
The situation for land rights defenders in Guatemala is seriously and rapidly deteriorating, according to alerts released by PBI Guatemala and other human rights organizations. Since May 9th, seven indigenous leaders and activists have been killed across the country: