Last year Otto Pérez Molina presided over the sharpest escalation in targeted attacks on human rights defenders since Guatemala’s armed conflict ended in 1996. Attacks on human rights defenders increased last year by 126 percent, by far the greatest jump recorded in any year in post-war Guatemala. Eighteen human rights defenders were assassinated, a 72-percent increase over 2012, even as the country’s general murder rate has decreased.
Patricia Davis writes in Foreign Policy in Focus that
human rights defenders in Guatemala are facing the worst environment since the civil war.
‘Last October, the minister of the interior announced a “warning” for all foreigners on tourist visas in Guatemala. “It doesn’t matter what flag you come under, if you’re ecologists, human rights defenders, whatever outfit they want to put on. We will not permit their involvement in the internal affairs of Guatemala.” The minister argued that, according to intelligence reports, foreigners were participating in social protests and “inciting people to commit crimes against private property and the authorities.”’
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