Urgent Action

GUATEMALA: PROTECT LOLITA CHÁVEZ & OTHER INDIGENOUS WOMEN AT RISK

Enter your details

Prepare your message. Read and modify the sample letter.

10 unidentified and armed men threatened Aura Lolita Chávez and other women human rights defenders of the the K’iche People’s Council (CPK) telling them they were going to sexually assault them. The armed men chased the women as they fled in fear, firing gunshots into the air. The women managed to escape, but are in fear of further attacks and threats.

Please contact the authorities immediately, urging them to:

  • 1
    Call on the Attorney General’s Office to promptly investigate the 7 June incidents reported by Aura Lolita Chávez and the CPK as well as their allegations of unidentified armed men in the K’iche people’s territory;
  • 2
    Call on the Ministry of the Interior to promptly implement protection measures to guarantee the integrity of Aura Lolita Chávez and others CPK members in consultation and agreement with them.

+ Background

    Aura Lolita Chávez is a renowned Guatemalan human rights defender and Indigenous leader of the organization the K’iche People’s Council (CPK). Aura Lolita Chávez and other women from the organisation have been threatened and attacked by unidentified armed men. The defenders are currently in hiding and in fear for their lives.

    This incident occured on June 7, after Aura Lolita Chávez and the K’iche People’s Council (Consejo de Pueblos K’iche, CPK), stopped a truck loaded with wood between Chichicastenango and Los Encantos in the K’iche department, northern Guatemala, in order to verify the origin and legality of the wood. The CPK asserts the right to carry out these verifications as part of their right to ownership and control of natural resources on their ancestral lands (a right which is protected by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples). According to the CPK, the truck had no logging permits. The CPK therefore escorted the truck to Santa Cruz del Quiché (the capital of the department) in order to hand it over to the government authorities. The Ombudsperson’s office attended with some officials of the National Police, but then left.

    The CPK told Amnesty International that as soon as this happened, at least 10 unidentified armed men arrived in a pick-up truck with long guns. These 10 armed men threatened Aura Lolita Chávez and a number of women human rights defenders of the CPK telling them they were going to sexually assault them. The armed men chased the women as they fled in fear, firing gunshots into the air. The women managed to escape, but are in fear of further attacks and threats.

    Since the incident, rumours have circulated in Santa Cruz indicating that the group of armed men are looking for Aura Lolita Chávez. Aura Lolita Chávez is currently in hiding as she fears for her safety. She is the beneficiary of precautionary measures granted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in 2005, and is permanently accompanied by one police officer. The NGO Unit for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders in Guatemala (UDEFEGUA) alerted the authorities of these attacks on the night of 7 June, but the authorities have yet to implement any further protection measures to guarantee the integrity of Aura Lolita Chávez and the other members of the CPK.



+ Please write to

UPDATE: SUSPENSION OF MAIL SERVICE TO GUATEMALA


Currently we cannot get mail into Guatemala other than via courier.

Therefore, please send your letters to the Amnesty office in BC (address below) and we will send them by courier in batches.


Please post your letters to:

Amnesty International

430-319 W Pender St

Vancouver,

BC V6B 1T3, Canada

>>>We will send your letters by courier to Guatemala.

 

Background:

A decade ago, a subsidiary company of Canada Post was contracted to manage the privatization of the Guatemalan postal service which has resulted in many issues - more here.

In 2016, Guatemala’s postal service collapsed. Canada Post is no longer delivering letters to Guatemala because it cannot guarantee their delivery.

***********************************************

 

Minister of Interior
Sr. Francisco Rivas Lara
Ministerio de Gobernación
6 avenida 13-71 zona 1,
C.P. 01001 Guatemala,
Guatemala.
Email: frivas@mingob.gob.gt  
Salutation: Dear Minister/ Sr. Ministro


Please send a copy to:


Attorney General’s Office
Sra. Thelma Aldana Hernández
Fiscal General de la República
15 Av. 15-16 Zona 1, Edificio Gerona,
C.P. 01001 Guatemala,
Guatemala.
Email: ocgonzalez@mp.gob.gt  
Salutation: Dear General Attorney/ Sra. Fiscal General


Presidencial Commission on Human Rights in Guatemala (COPREDEH)
Sr. Victor Hugo Godoy
2da Avenida 10-50, Zona 9
C.P. 01009 Guatemala,
Guatemala.
Email: vhgodoy@copredeh.gob.gt  
Salutation: Dear President/ Sr. Presidente


His Excellency Carlos Humberto Jiménez Licona
Ambassador for the Republic of Guatemala
130 Albert Street, Suite 1010
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5G4
Canada.
Email: embassy1@embaguate-canada.com


Ambassador Deborah Chastis
Embassy of Canada
Apartado Postal 400,
Guatemala, C.A.
Email: gtmla@international.gc.ca




+ Additional information

Aura Lolita Chávez is the representative of the K’iche Peoples Council (Consejo de Pueblos K’iche, CPK). She is also an ancestral authority of the K’iche Mayan people. The CPK was founded in 2008 to defend the land, territory and common goods of the K’iche Indigenous peoples in northern Guatemala. They defend and promote the rights of over 87 communities of the K’iche department. The organization has conducted popular and good faith consultation processes in the region in order for the communities to express their views over the implementation of economic projects such as hydroelectric, mining, logging and agribusiness projects. The CPK members and especially Aura Lolita Chávez have faced several death threats and security incidents over the past years.

According to the civil society organization UDEFEGUA, environmental and land human rights defenders are the main group of activists attacked in Guatemala. According to Amnesty International research, they have been constantly subjected to smear campaigns aimed at stigmatizing and discrediting them in order to force them to stop their legitimate work. This includes being falsely accused and prosecuted as a way of keeping them silent. Although the State of Guatemala has developed guidelines and protection mechanisms for human rights defenders, these have proven to be ineffective.

For more information, see the Amnesty International report “We are defending the land with our blood”: Defenders of the land, territory and environment in Honduras and Guatemala (https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/amr01/4562/2016/en/ ) and Americas: State Protection Mechanisms for Human Rights Defenders (https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/amr01/6211/2017/en/ ).  

 

ensure that all those arrested are not subjected to torture and other ill-treatment and have immediate access to lawyers, their families and to medical care they may require;

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 

Your letter will be sent to:

Minister of Interior
Sr. Francisco Rivas Lara
Ministerio de Gobernación
6 avenida 13-71 zona 1,
C.P. 01001 Guatemala,
Guatemala.

And a copy will be sent to:

Attorney General’s Office
Sra. Thelma Aldana Hernández
Fiscal General de la República
15 Av. 15-16 Zona 1, Edificio Gerona,
C.P. 01001 Guatemala,
Guatemala.

Presidencial Commission on Human Rights in Guatemala (COPREDEH)
Sr. Victor Hugo Godoy
2da Avenida 10-50, Zona 9
C.P. 01009 Guatemala,
Guatemala.


His Excellency Carlos Humberto Jiménez Licona
Ambassador for the Republic of Guatemala
130 Albert Street, Suite 1010
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5G4
Canada.


Ambassador Deborah Chastis
Embassy of Canada
Apartado Postal 400,
Guatemala, C.A.