Alert issued by Peace Brigades International (PBI) Guatemala, May 2013
The purpose of this “Alert” is to draw attention to, and share our concerns regarding the intensification and severity of attacks against human rights defenders in Guatemala, the defamation and disparaging of social movements, and the trend in bringing criminal charges against those who form part of, or support them, be they individuals, organizations, or campesino and indigenous communities.
In January 2013 we reported on the serious assaults, threats and persecution against those campaigning for respect for the economic, social, cultural, and environmental rights, as well as the rights of indigenous populations. We expressed concern that the situation was even worse in areas where there is opposition to planned or current public-private investment projects, especially where free, prior and informed consent has not been sought from the communities affected.
We would like to reiterate these concerns, given the upsurge in violent attacks against communities, civil society organizations, and individuals in many parts of the country who question the exploitation of natural resources through mega-projects and demand that, above all else, the state insures respect for human rights. Our concerns are exemplified by specific cases where projects based on the exploitation of mines, minerals, water sources, timber, crops (among others), are in the planning or implementation stages.
Go here to read more of this alert.