PBI presents joint statement at Human Rights Council on the situation in Guatemala

Published by Brent Patterson on

On September 26, Kim-Mai Vu of Peace Brigades International presented at the Human Rights Council in Geneva on the situation in Guatemala.

The joint statement with OMCT SOS-Torture Network and Franciscans International noted:

In Guatemala, we are alarmed by the increasingly accentuated repressive policies that violate human rights. The deterioration of the rule of law, the cooptation of the justice system, the weakening of national human rights institutions and the closure of civic spaces continue to advance.

We are concerned about the frequency and intensity of attacks against people, organizations and rural and indigenous communities that defend the rights to land, territory and the environment.

At the same time, entire communities are the object of violent and forced eviction attempts by non-state actors, mainly in Alta and Baja Verapaz, without the State reacting or protecting their rights. This is the case of the communities of Las Pilas/Cahabón and Quejec/Tucuru.

None of these attacks has been properly investigated and no one responsible has been prosecuted. Some have even encouraged these evictions, such as the “Association for the Defense of private property”.

Moreover, the State facilitates these illegal and violent procedures by extinguishing the Human Rights Prosecutor’s Office and by creating a Usurpation Prosecutor’s Office that has been used against human rights defenders.

We call on this Council to demand that the State of Guatemala:

– Investigate and prosecute those responsible for attacks against defenders

– Immediately stop violent judicial and extrajudicial evictions

– Install effective mechanisms with sufficient resources to seek solutions engaged in agrarian conflicts

– Renew the mandate of the OHCHR in the country.

Thank you very much.

To watch the video of this presentation, click here (starts at 13:45).


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