(the urgent action below is reposted from here)
(EDIT: below I have also posted updated information and other ways to take action as shared by the Guatemala Human Rights Commission)
MEMBERS OF INDIGENOUS ORGANISATION ATTACKED
Several members of an indigenous peoples organization have been physically attacked and threatened in recent weeks in northern Guatemala. One member was killed. The others remain at risk.
The Council of K’iche’ Peoples (Consejo de los Pueblos K’iche’, CPK) is an organization based in Santa Cruz del Quiché in the department of Quiché that works on Indigenous Peoples rights, extractive industries and corruption issues. Aura Lolita Chavez is one of its leaders.
On 4 July CPK organised a peaceful demonstration against discrimination, alleged economic mismanagement and abuse of power by the mayor. At 4.15pm, after the demonstration, participants were returning to their community by bus when their vehicle was stopped by a group of 8 people, armed with stones, pocket knives, machetes and batons. As the group threw stones at the bus, several CPK members got off it to see what was happening. The group asked where Aura Lolita Chavez was and violently attacked two women and a girl who participated in the demonstration. The activists were injured, with two women reporting a knife wound and a fractured ankle respectively.
Previously, on 27 June, Gaspar Tipaz, CPK member and local leader, had received phone calls threatening him to death. A male caller asked him about the number of people who were going to attend a demonstration planned for 28 June and told him “tomorrow I’m going to kill you” (“Mañana te voy a matar”).
Weeks earlier, on 12 June, José Tavico Tzunun, another CPK leader, was killed by armed gunmen who raided his house at night. The house was a meeting point for CPK activists.
Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:
- Urging them to take immediate steps to provide appropriate protection to members of the executive committee of the CPK according to their wishes;
- Calling on the authorities to order an independent, thorough and impartial investigation into the killing of José Tavico Tzunun, and the threats and attacks against CPK members;
- Reminding them that human rights defenders have a right to carry out their activities without any unfair restrictions or fear of reprisals, as set out in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 29 AUGUST 2012 TO:
Claudia Paz y Paz Bailey
Fiscal General de la República
15a Avenida 15-16, Zona 1, Barrio Gerona Ciudad de Guatemala,
Fax: +502 2411 9210 Twitter:@mpclaudiapaz
Salutation: Estimada Sra. Fiscal General
Presidential Commission for Human Rights Carlos Morales
Comisión Presidencial para los Derechos Humanos (COPREDEH)
2 Av. 10-50 Zona 9, Guatemala City Guatemala
Fax: + 502 2334 0119
Salutation: Dear Director / Estimado Sr.Director
And copies to:
Consejo de los Pueblos K’iche’
In Guatemala human rights defenders, including journalists and trade unionists, continue to be threatened, harassed and attacked, by those seeking to dissuade them from their work. In 2011 local organizations documented 402 cases of attacks and intimidation against local human rights defenders, whose work ranges from the protection of human rights of forcibly evicted indigenous communities to the investigation of human rights violation committed during the internal armed conflict. For more information, please see “Guatemala – Submission to the UN Human Rights Committee for the 104th session of the Human Rights Committee (12-30 March 2012)” (AI Index AMR 34/001/2012)”, available at http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR34/001/2012/en
(what follows is reposted from the Guatemala Human Rights Commission listserv)
GHRC Denounces Attack on Lolita Chavez
|GHRC presents petition in case of Yolanda Oquelí
The attack against Lolita and her companions is the second against women community leaders in the last month. On June 13, anti-mining activist Yolanda Oquelí was shot on her way home. GHRC’s petition to support Yolanda and her community collected 772 signatures and was presented to the Guatemalan and US authorities. Yolanda is in stable condition and GHRC continues to monitor her situation and push for protection for the community and the arrest of her aggressors.
(photo courtesy of mimundo.org)
- _Estoy_____ en solidaridad con Los Pueblos K’iche’s. (Or you can fill in the name of your group to say “_____stands in solidarity with the K’iche’ people”)
- Respaldamos su lucha por sus derechos y la madre tierra. (We support your struggle for your rights and Mother Earth)
- Que sigan adelante con la lucha para la dignidad de los pueblos K’iche’s. (Keep up the fight for the dignity of the K’iche’ people)
- El pueblo de _____ presente en la lucha. (The people of ______ present in the struggle)
- El pueblo unido jamás será vencido. (The people united will never be defeated)
- Lamentamos la violencia contra de los miembros del Consejo de Pueblos K’iche’s. (We lament the violence against the members of the K’iche’ People’s Council.)
- Apoyamos los derechos colectivos de los pueblos indígenas de Guatemala. (We support the collective rights of the indigenous people of Guatemala)