Wednesday 12.8.2020 Guatemala - Latest Developments -
On 16th July 2020, Maya Q’eqchi Indigenous leader Bernardo Caal Xol was declared a prisoner of conscience by human rights organisation Amnesty International. Bernardo Caal Xol has defended the rights of communities in Santa María de Cahabón, department of Alta Verapáz, which have resisted the construction of a hydroelectric dam in the region. Read more
Tuesday 7.7.2020 Guatemala - Latest Developments -
On 15th June 2020, Indigenous land defender Medardo Alonzo Lucero was found dead with signs of torture in Olopa, Chiquimula department. Read more
Tuesday 12.5.2020 Guatemala - Latest Developments -
On 12th April 2020, more than a hundred journalists from Guatemala published a public complaint denouncing repeated hostile behaviour from president Alejandro Giammattei and other public officials, through acts to intimidate, discredit and censor the press. Read more | Read in Spanish
Monday 9.3.2020 Guatemala - Latest Developments -
On 11th February 2020, the Guatemalan Congress approved a decree (No. 4-2020) which would impose sweeping controls over civil society, restricting freedom of association in the country. Favourable legislators say the reform of the Law of Non-governmental Organisations for Development (Ley de Organizaciones No Gubernamentales para el Desarrollo) enables “transparency and oversight”, but critics argue it establishes harsh sanctions which authorise the arbitrary closure of organisations. Read more | Read in Spanish
Thursday 30.1.2020 Guatemala - Latest Developments -
On 18th December 2019, the offices of LGBTI youth association Somos Jóvenes Diversos en Acción (SOMOS) were raided in Guatemala City. Unknown persons broke into their offices overnight and took property and documents belonging to the association. Read more | Read in Spanish
Wednesday 20.11.2019 Guatemala - Latest Developments -
On 6th November 2019, unidentified men shot and killed human rights defender Manuel Pérez Hernández at his home in the community Agua Mecate de San Pedro Pínula, Jalapa department. Manuel Pérez was a community defender and social leader of Comité de Desarrollo Campesino (Peasant Development Committee - CODECA), which advocates for land reform.
On 2nd November 2019, Guatemala’s Ombudsman Jordán Rodas published a statement on the need to strengthen protection for reporters, creating a framework based on the United Nations Action Plan on the Safety of Journalists. Between May and August 2019, in the context of the country’s electoral campaign, there were 39 incidents where freedom of expression was violated. At the end of October, a group of union workers attacked reporters covering their meeting.
Wednesday 16.10.2019 Guatemala - Latest Developments -
On 7th September 2019, environmental and community activist Diana Isabel Hernández was shot and killed by unidentified persons while participating in a religious procession in her community. Only days later, on 14th September 2019, land and human rights defender Paulina Cruz Ruíz was shot and killed by unidentified gunmen.
In the same period, a protest by members of the Xinka indigenous community ended in violence and 16 arrests in Jutiapa. Finally, Guatemala's Journalists Association has expressed concern about changes to the Public Prosecution Unit in charge of crimes against reporters. The Association also published a report on Freedom of Expression during Guatemala's 2019 elections. This update covers the period between 05/08/2019 to 20/10/2019. Read more | Read in Spanish
Thursday 15.8.2019 Guatemala - Latest Developments -
Amnesty International published a report on Guatemala called "Last chance for justice", which describes the worrying situation of human rights defenders in the country. According to Amnesty’s analysis, over the past two years the highest Guatemalan authorities have taken a series of measures to halt the last decade’s advances in access to justice. In this period, human rights defenders faced continuous threats, delegitimisation , stigmatisation, intimidation and attacks. Read more
Friday 7.6.2019 Guatemala - Latest Developments -
On 6th May 2019, Santiago Botón, a correspondent for Venezuelan channel Telesur, was harassed while filming a protest in Ixcán, El Quiché department. On 14th May 2019, Guatemalan presidential candidate Sandra Torres withdrew a judicial complaint against a group of editors of independent newspaper El Periódico. On 9th May 2019, a Guatemalan court had ordered the newspaper to stop publishing any information on Torres due to a lawsuit under the country’s feminicide law.
This update also links two new reports: one on the use of social networks in defamation campaigns, and another on the situation of HRDs in Guatemala. Read more
Tuesday 7.5.2019 Guatemala - Latest Developments -
On 26th April 2019, the land rights defender Abelino Chub Caal was found not guilty for charges of 'aggravated land grabbing' (usurpación agravada), 'arson' (incendio), 'coercion' (coacción), 'illicit association' (asociación ilícita) and belonging to 'illicit armed groups' (agrupaciones ilegales de gente armada). He had been held in detention for over 800 days since his initial arrest. Read more