Statement on the denouncement of violence against communities in Guatemala
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27 July 2018
Communities in northwest Guatemala publicly denounced repression and intimidation following peaceful demonstrations against the presence of the National Police and Army in their territory.
The people of the microregion of Ixquisis, in the department of Huehuetenango, are currently living in fear due to the improper use of criminal law against those who have expressed their opposition to the development of the Pojom I, Pojom II and San Andrés dams.
Together with allied organizations, AIDA has denounced before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights the worrying criminalization of human rights defenders who oppose the hydroelectric projects in Guatemala.
As an organization that works in defense of human rights and the environment in Latin America, AIDA would like to express the following:
The repression of freedom of association and expression is extremely worrisome. The risks faced by the people of Ixquisis and the increased acts of violence against them are alarming.
We reject any act of violence or intimidation by private and public security forces against people exercising their individual and collective rights.
We likewise condemn any campaign of disinformation, de-legitimization and stigmatization that may arise in response the communities’ peaceful demonstrations.
The acts that have been denounced not only violate basic rights, but also affect social stability and the traditional lifestyle of the communities.
We call on the State of Guatemala to: guarantee the full enjoyment of the communities’ human rights; protect those who defend them; carry out diligent actions to investigate recent acts of violence; ensure due process for those who defend their rights before the projects’ advancement; and evaluate the instances of force denounced by the communities.