Call on Guatemalan authorities to protect Rafael and all environmental rights defenders under attack

GUATEMALA: PROTECT ENVIRONMENTAL LAWYER UNDER ATTACK

Guatemalan authorites must guarantee the safety of Rafael Maldonado from threats of violence
   

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TARGETED FOR DEFENDING LAND AND WATER RIGHTS IN COURT

Pedro Rafael Maldonado Flores is a passionate and dedicated human rights lawyer. As the legal director of the Centre for Environmental, Social and Legal Action (CALAS), Rafael provides environment and water defenders with legal counsel to help them protect their rights to a healthy environment and freedom of expression, and defends their rights as Indigenous peoples.

But someone wants to stop Rafael’s and CALAS’ important work.

THREATS, INTIMIDATION AND MURDER 

For several years, Rafael and his colleagues have been threatened and harassed outside their homes, at work, in public spaces, in newspaper articles and over social media. 

• In April 2017 someone fired shots outside Rafael’s house 

• In November 2016 22 year-old staffer Jeremy Barrios was murdered in Guatemala City

• In 2008 Executive Director Dr Yuri Melini was shot several times and survived 

Despite these threats and attacks, the Guatemalan government has not brought anyone to justice nor has it provided adequate protection for Rafael and his colleagues.

Call on Guatemalan authorities to provide full protection to Rafael Maldonado and his colleagues at CALAS and bring those responsible for intimidations and attacks to justice >>

 

 
 

Dear Attorney General,

I am deeply concerned for the safety of environmental defender and human rights lawyer, Pedro Rafael Maldonado Flores and his colleagues at the Centre for Environmental, Social and Legal Action (CALAS). They have suffered years of increasing threats, harassment, and attacks. In November, 2016, CALAS staff member, Jeremy Barrios Lima, was shot to death in Guatemala City. No one has been arrested or charged with his murder, or for the threats and attacks against Rafael Maldonado and his colleagues.

The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders reports that Guatemala is one of the world’s most dangerous countries for environmental defenders and that they frequently experience threats and attacks or are criminalised for their work. CALAS’ staff face serious risks for carrying out their legitimate and important work defending human rights and the environment.

Therefore, Ms. Aldana, I urge you to:
  • Take immediate steps to provide full and appropriate protection to Pedro Rafael Maldonado Flores as well as Dr Yuri Giovanni Melini Salguero, the Executive Director of CALAS.
  • Capture and bring to justice the material and intellectual authors of Jeremy Barrios Lima’s murder.
  • Provide CALAS with a full and updated security assessment and permanent protection, including perimeter security patrols and an officer stationed in the CALAS office during regular working hours.
  • Take steps to immediately sign and publish the “Instrucción general”, the protocol to investigate attacks against human rights defenders and ensure adequate staffing and resources to carry out the work.
  • Publicly condemn the attacks and harassment of CALAS personnel and recognize the important and legitimate work of defenders working on land, territory and environmental issues.
  • The human rights office of the President, COPREDEH, must develop, promote and implement effective public policy for the protection of human rights defenders.

Thank you,

 
 


To: Thelma Esperanza Aldana Hernández de López,
Attorney General of the Republic of Guatemala
 
Dear Attorney General – 

I am deeply concerned for the safety of environmental defender and human rights lawyer, Pedro Rafael Maldonado Flores and his colleagues at the Centre for Environmental, Social and Legal Action (CALAS). They have suffered years of increasing threats, harassment, and attacks. In November, 2016, CALAS staff member, Jeremy Barrios Lima, was shot to death in Guatemala City. No one has been arrested or charged with his murder, or for the threats and attacks against Rafael Maldonado and his colleagues. 

The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders reports that Guatemala is one of the world’s most dangerous countries for environmental defenders and that they frequently experience threats and attacks or are criminalised for their work. CALAS’ staff face serious risks for carrying out their legitimate and important work defending human rights and the environment. 

Therefore, Ms. Aldana, I urge you to:

Take immediate steps to provide full and appropriate protection to Pedro Rafael Maldonado Flores as well as Dr Yuri Giovanni Melini Salguero, the Executive Director of CALAS.  

Capture and bring to justice the material and intellectual authors of Jeremy Barrios Lima’s murder

Provide CALAS with a full and updated security assessment and permanent protection, including perimeter security patrols and an officer stationed in the CALAS office during regular working hours

Take steps to immediately sign and publish the “Instrucción general”, the protocol to investigate attacks against human rights defenders and ensure adequate staffing and resources to carry out the work.  

Publicly condemn the attacks and harassment of CALAS personnel and recognize the important and legitimate work of defenders working on land, territory and environmental issues.  

The human rights office of the President, COPREDEH, must develop, promote and implement effective public policy for the protection of human rights defenders.  


Thank You,

  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
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