PBI-Guatemala expresses concern about the defamation campaign against ACOGUATE
On November 4, PBI-Guatemala posted: “As a member of the Network of International Accompaniment Organizations in Latin America we express our concern for the recent campaign of disinformation, defamation and criminalization against the International Accompaniment Project in Guatemala (ACOGUATE).”
ACOGUATE was constituted as an international accompaniment project in 2000. It operates in Guatemala through a field team based in the capital city. It is composed of four committees based in France, Germany, Sweden and Canada who send volunteers to join the international accompaniment and observation team.
Currently, ACOGUATE accompanies human rights defenders under two thematic areas: the fight for justice and against impunity, and the defence of land and territory.
On October 12, 2021, ACOGUATE carried out the international observation of the activity called March for Dignity.
On that day, Indigenous, peasant and popular organizations marched for the Dignity and Resistance of the peoples and in defence of a Plurinational State.
During this activity, unknown persons took photographs of ACOGUATE observers that subsequently appeared on social networks and were used in a campaign to defame and threaten ACOGUATE and more broadly international accompaniment in Guatemala.
On October 18, Immortal Guatemala filed a complaint against the Campesino Unity Committee (CUC) and ACOGUATE, for alleged crimes of sedition, activities against the internal security of the nation, and depredation of cultural heritage.
And ACOGUATE has been the target of threats on social networks by private individuals and by some authorities of the country.
International organizations, including WOLA, GHRC and RFK Human Rights, have expressed solidarity with ACOGUATE and the Committee of Peasant Unity (CUC) and demand that the authorities of the State of Guatemala respect fundamental rights, including the right to freedom of expression, association and peaceful demonstration.
Embassy of Canada in Guatemala
On October 27, the Embassy of Guatemala tagged ACOGUATE in this tweet that states: “We recognize the work of those who accompany the defenders of #DerechosHumanos [human rights]. The defense of human rights is a central part of building inclusive, prosperous and safe societies.#Canada4Rights”
PBI-Canada continues to follow this situation.