Ombudsman for Human Rights/Procurador de los Derechos Humanos
Lic. Augusto Jordán Rodas Andrade
12 avenida 12-54, zona 1. Ciudad de Guatemala
via email and US mail
June 12, 2022
Dear Attorney General:
We are saddened to learn of the assassination of Pablo Ramos, an active member of CODECA (El Comité de Desarrollo Campesino/ Committee for Campesino Development) for the past 12 years. Pablo Ramos, age 66, was president of the community structure of CODECA in Navajoa.
Pablo Ramos was murdered at his home in the community of Navajoa, Morales Municipality, Izabal Department. At about 6:30pm on June 7, two individuals arrived on a motorcycle at his home business, a general store. They shot him several times. He died later at the hospital in Puerto Barrios.
Since 2018, the residents of Navajoa have been demanding the titling of the lands where they farm. They are opposed to the division and re-selling of their plots of land. On June 6, Pablo Ramos, went to the Public Ministry in Morales to attend a conciliation hearing and ratify the community’s opposition to the illegal commercialization of their properties. Pablo Ramos had been summoned to the hearing by the Manchame family, which is involved in land disputes with several community residents. There have been reports of threats to Pablo Ramos by members of the Manchame family.
We are deeply concerned about the targeted killings of leaders of CODECA. For the past three decades and with 90,000 members across Guatemala, CODECA has organized a robust movement to defend human rights and Mother Earth. We wrote to you earlier this year about the killing of Álvaro Marcos Román, president of the Community Directive of CODECA in Santa María Xalapán, Jalapa Department (cf our letter February 26, 2022). Last year we wrote to you about the killing of Ramón López Jiménez, the treasurer of the board of directors of CODECA in Jalapa Department (cf our letter September 24, 2021). Twenty-four members of CODECA have been murdered since 2018.
We strongly urge that you
- conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the killing of Pablo Ramos, publish the results, and bring those responsible to justice
- provide protection measures for persons in leadership positions with CODECA, in strict accordance with their wishes
Brian J. Stefan Szittai and Christine Stonebraker Martínez
Lica. María Consuelo Porras Argueta , Attorney General of Guatemala ~ via email
Guillermo Castillo Reyes, Vice-President of Guatemala ~ via email
Hilda Pineda, Attorney in the Human Rights Section of the Public Ministry ~ via email
Alfonso José Quiñónez Lemus, Ambassador of Guatemala to the US ~ email, US mail
IACHR: Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño, Rapporteur for Guatemala, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ~ via email and US mail
OACNUDH: Mika Kanervavuori, Oficina del Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos en Guatemala (OACNUDH)~ via email
US State Department: William Popp, US Ambassador to Guatemala, in care of human rights officer Sarahann Yeh ~ via email
US State Department: Guatemala Desk Officers in Washington, DC: Bria Mathews, Moises Mendoza ~ vial email
US Senators Brown & Portman ~ via email
US Representatives Beatty, Brown, Gibbs, Gonzalez, Johnson, Jordan, Joyce, Kaptur, Latta, Ryan ~ via email
12 JUN 2022_GHRC-USA_Guatemala