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Guatemala, 7/11/2016

President of Guatemala

Lic. Thelma Esperanza Aldana Hernández
Attorney General of Guatemala

Dear President Morales and Attorney General Aldana:

We are writing to express our deep concern regarding the death of human rights defender Brenda Marleni EstradaTambito, who was shot and killed as she drove through Guatemala City on June 19. She was the Sub-Coordinator of the Legal Aid Commission of the Coalition of Workers’ Unions of Guatemala (UNSITRAGUA). She and her father, lawyer Jorge Estrada, have been long-time members of UNSITRAGUA, which brings together workers' unions from the manufacturing, services and agricultural industries, as well as self-employed workers and independent farmers.

 Between 5:30pm and 6:00pm on the evening of June 19, as Brenda Marleni Estrada Tambito drove through Zone 1 in Guatemala City, the occupants of a vehicle which drove up next to her opened fire, killing her with five bullets at the scene. Prior to her assassination she had driven her father, Jorge Estrada, to a bus terminal to travel to Puerto Barrios in Izabal Department, where he is currently involved in investigating and assessing labor rights on several banana plantations across Izabal.

 This assassination is the latest murder of a human rights defender in Guatemala. On June 8, Daniel Choc Pop, an indigenous and land rights defender in San Juan Tres Rios, Cobán Department, was repeatedly shot and killed (cf our letter of June 25). On March 16, Walter Méndez Barrios, a well-known environmental rights defender, was shot and killed outside his home in Las Cruces, Petén Department (cf our letter of March 25). In 2015, four human rights defenders and two of their family members were killed (cf our letters of May 2, Oct 12, Oct 13, Nov 22 2015). 

 Because of our concern about the increasingly tense and dangerous environment for human rights defenders, we strongly urge that you

  • carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the killing of Brenda Marleni Estrada Tambito, publish the results and bring those responsible to justice;
  • take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of the family of Brenda Marleni Estrada Tambito’s, particularly her father, Jorge Estrada;


 Brian J. Stefan Szittai