GHRC published the above joint statement with Due Process of Law Foundation, Washington Office on Latin America, and Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Initiative in solidarity with the human rights accompaniment organization ACOGUATE. In recognition of the worsening human rights situation–including attacks on both national and international human rights organizations–GHRC supports open pathways for the investigation and reporting of human rights violations against human rights defenders, communities, and in particular, indigenous communities whose fundamental human rights are being violated.
Increased Risk of Violations Against the Right to Life and Against Human Rights Defenders in Guatemala, including international accompaniment organizations such as ACOGUATE.
The undersigned international organizations regret and condemn the recent attack against the human rights organization, ACOGUATE, that provides international accompaniment to individuals and organizations from the social and human rights movement in Guatemala. ACOGUATE is an organization recognized for its integrity that has been working in the country for more than twenty-one years.
On October 12, 2021, ACOGUATE carried out international observation of an activity called the “March for Dignity.” Subsequently, ACOGUATE has been the target of threats on social networks by private individuals and by some of the country’s authorities, including the Guatemalan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the former Minister of the Interior, as well as the Foundation Against Terrorism, led by Ricardo Méndez Ruiz. Jorge Mario de Jesús Cajas, lawyer for the capital’s municipality, has sought to criminalize ACOGUATE by requesting a judicial investigation of the international organization. In addition, the group Immortal Guatemala filed a lawsuit against ACOGUATE, as well as against the Comité de Unidad Campesina (CUC), and from its web page has directed messages of threats, hatred, and defamation against these organizations.
In light of these events, we, the undersigned international organizations, express our solidarity with ACOGUATE and 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. We also ask the international community to analyze its support for Guatemala and ensure that it is not financing state institutions or private initiatives that have links to groups that criminalize, threaten, and violate the human rights of indigenous communities, organizations, and human rights defenders.
You can read the full note, including links, here, GHRC Lends Supports to ACOGUATE in Light of Recent Attacks
ACOGUATE offers international accompaniment to Guatemalan individuals and social movement and human rights organisations that find themselves at risk through the work they do against impunity and in support of a democratic, multi-ethnic, pluricultural society, based on social justice and the respect for human rights.
You can find out more about them and the work they do, here, ACOGUATE – International Accompaniment.
For many years, GSN was a proud member of the ACOGUATE family.