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Environmental Human Rights: News & Updates

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A Salvadoran woman, identified as Lilian, has been released from prison after more than seven years, where she was serving a 30-year sentence for having an abortion. Lilian gave birth to a baby in 2015, who suffered health complications and died three days later. El Salvador has a strict anti-abortion law with a total ban, and Lilian was accused of negligence and aggravated murder for allegedly not taking care of the fetus. Lilian, who maintained her innocence, was released based on her vulnerable situation in the hospital. The country's abortion ban, in place since 1998, does not have exemptions for cases of rape or health risks for the mother. Campaign groups continue to advocate for women's reproductive rights, emphasizing the need for justice. Despite calls for change, President Nayib Bukele has no intention of altering the current abortion law, reflecting the influence of the predominantly Roman Catholic and Evangelical population in the country.

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Bernardo Arévalo, an anticorruption crusader, has been inaugurated as Guatemala's president amid resistance from opponents in the government. Despite delays and challenges, Arévalo, considered Guatemala's most progressive head of state since the 1980s, took office after international outcry and pressure from protesters. He faces a power struggle with conservative prosecutors, Congress members, and political figures who have weakened governing institutions. Arévalo's opponents aim to limit his budget for healthcare and education. The U.S. and other leaders support Arévalo, while tensions highlight Guatemala's history of political interference and exclusion of Indigenous groups.

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The Colombian government has extended a cease-fire with the FARC-EMC rebel group until July 15. The cease-fire, part of peace talks in Bogota, requires the rebels to cease attacks on civilians in areas under their control. The FARC-EMC splinter group, not part of the 2016 peace deal, has around 3,500 fighters. Despite previous cease-fires, critics argue that rebel groups continue recruiting, extorting, and kidnapping civilians. The new cease-fire also prohibits threats to community leaders and restrictions on villagers' movements. Talks may address economic projects for rural transformation and sustainable development to combat deforestation.

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As Guatemala's new president, Bernardo Arévalo, prepares to take office amidst challenges to his legitimacy, Indigenous leaders reflect on the past indefinite national strike defending democracy. Despite the Constitutional Court's affirmation and Arévalo's upcoming inauguration, concerns linger over the inclusivity of the new government. The Indigenous-led #ParoNacionalIndefinido successfully mobilized communities nationwide, highlighting the power of Indigenous leadership. The struggle, rooted in historical Indigenous resistance, extends beyond electoral politics. Interviews with organizations involved in the national strike shed light on broader Indigenous struggles in Guatemala, emphasizing the need for structural change and justice beyond the political transition. The disappointment with Arévalo's cabinet appointments underscores the ongoing Indigenous-led resistance and the promise of the future.

News Article

When the trial of former U.S. and Canadian-back Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez (“JOH”) begins in New York on February 5th, Karen Spring of the HSN and Honduras Now will report from the trial, and make the links between the drug-trafficking and violence of the Honduran military-backed regimes, led by JOH, and close to 13 years of unconditional political, military and economic relations with the US and Canadian governments and numerous global corporations and banks.

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Human Rights & Community-based organizations call for public investigations & inquiries regarding U.S. and Canadian support for Juan Orlando Hernández & the coup as the former president goes to trial on February 5, 2024.

Click here to watch the press conference: https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?ref=watch_permalink&v=1716997388822153

News Article

This report explains how issuances of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are an effective tool to mitigate the effects of the multiple crises that Latin American and Caribbean countries currently face. SDRs are among the most important alternative financing mechanisms available within the international monetary system, as they can generate new resources without increasing debt levels. Untapped for decades, recent issuances in 2009 — to address the effects of the global recession — and in 2021 — to help countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic — reintroduced SDRs as a powerful instrument for addressing global emergencies. However, the scale of their impact could be much more significant.

The current context, marked by the climate crisis, economic stagnation, and rising external debt burdens, calls for a strong, coordinated, and global response by the international community. So far, however, the response has failed to meet these challenges sufficiently or adequately. Given these circumstances, a new SDR issuance becomes not only relevant but also necessary for ensuring that countries of the Global South receive the financial support required for climate change adaptation and mitigation, as well as for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In order to achieve further issuances of SDRs, a coordinated push by Latin American and Caribbean countries, together with other countries and organizations in the Global South, is essential.

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President-elect Bernardo Arévalo, set to take office on January 14, plans to bring structural change to Guatemala, focusing on anti-corruption measures, democratic security, and equal law application. His opportunities include strong support from indigenous groups, engagement with the private sector, and backing from the international community. However, challenges lie in addressing organized crime and drug trafficking, navigating a divided Congress, and countering continued attacks from the Attorney General's office. The text suggests collaboration with civil society, international support, and a comprehensive approach to corruption and crime are crucial. The international community is urged to support Arévalo's administration in promoting human rights and combating corruption.

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