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Guatemala: News & Updates
Guatemala had the longest and bloodiest civil war in Central American history: 36 years (1960-96). The US-backed military was responsible for a genocide (“scorched earth policy”) that wiped out 200,000 mostly Maya indigenous civilians. War criminals are still being tried in the courts.
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July 29, 2019
Under U.S. and international law, the United States is obligated to hear asylum requests unless an alternative "safe third country" is stipulated through a bilateral agreement. Such a "safe third country" must provide security and due process for asylum seekers. Trump officials tried initially to pressure Mexico to sign a safe third country agreement, but the Mexican government balked, even as it capitulated to Trump's tariff threats and stepped up efforts to interdict Central American migrants. So, the Trump administration turned to strong-arming Guatemala.
July 23, 2019
Declaring that “Guatemala has not been good,” President Trump threatened on Tuesday to retaliate against the country for not signing an immigration deal. He said his administration was considering imposing tariffs on Guatemalan exports or taxing money sent home by migrants.
The deal, called a “safe third country” agreement, would have required migrants who pass through Guatemala to seek asylum there, instead of continuing to the United States.
July 3, 2019
continuing attacks against the Nuevo Día Ch’orti Indigenous Association (CCCND) in Olopa municipality in Chiquimula Department. CCCND provides legal support and visibility to indigenous Ch’ortí communities. They face repeated human rights violations and threats to their land, environmental, and cultural rights because of hydroelectric and mining projects in their territories
June 24, 2019
A 14-year old told us she was taking care of a 4-year old who had been placed in her cell with no relatives. "I take her to the bathroom, give her my extra food if she is hungry, and tell people to leave her alone if they are bothering her," she said.
May 23, 2019
death threats toward, nonconsensual surveillance of, and attempted attack on Quelvin Jimenez, lawyer of the indigenous Xinca People in San Rafael las Flores in Santa Rosa Department.
The Other Americans: Guatemala, Influenced by the United States, Pursues Ultra-Conservative Family Law
May 22, 2019
The law openly defines a family as being made up of a “father and mother with children,” places all responsibility for sexual education on the parents, and defines sexual diversity as “incompatible with human biology.” The proposed definition of a family as a heterosexual couple has led to fears of discrimination against single-parent households. “The law will affect single mothers who have been abandoned or whose partners have migrated, or [single women who have] adopted a child,” Dávila says. “The law will mean that the state no longer recognizes [a single mother] as a family.” The United Nations’ High Commission on Human Rights called the law “regressive.”
RRN Case Update
March 7, 2019
Guatemala- case summaries 2018
Here is a summary of the 21 urgent action cases that the IRTF Rapid Response team responded to in 2018. We saw a significant increase in two areas of human rights violations: assassinations and criminalization of protest. Many of these occurred where communities are organizing resistance to protect their ancestral lands, waterways, and cultures against the enormous threats they are facing from mega-projects: extractive industries, industrial agriculture, hydro-electric dams, and other “development” projects. Police and military do the bidding of private companies—breaking up peaceful protest, beating demonstrators, and jailing leaders. This is a disturbing trend that threatens their ability to protect the environment and their democratic rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of speech. For more information on any of these cases, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
February 13, 2019
Women from CONAVIGUA - an organisation founded by women whose husbands were killed or disappeared during the armed conflict - and supporters protested Wednesday outside Congress in anticipation of the second reading. They vow to return when the bill is back on the agenda. "Victims have a right to justice. We reject any attempt to grant amnesty. We reject impunity," CONAVIGUA national coordinator Rosalina Tuyuc told reporters at the rally outside the Congress building on Feb 13.
February 11, 2019
A woman spreads incense over the remains of 172 unidentified people who were discovered buried at what was once a Guatemalan military camp during the civil war in San Juan Comalapa, Guatemala, a day before their formal burial at the same site where they were unearthed. A genetic bank of the unidentified is saving DNA samples from the remains for those searching for relatives...If passed, the proposed Amnesty Law would undo decades of work to provide justice to victims of wartime atrocities; it would represent an unequivocal return to the reign of impunity long sought by the powerful, military-backed networks of corruption that the United States has invested significant resources into dismantling.
February 6, 2019
Death of Jakelin Caal in US custody highlights how land conflicts and displacement fuel flight from indigenous villages...The oil extracted from the palm fruits is used for biofuel and in all kinds of household products, from ice cream and instant noodles to lipstick and detergents..."Before there was palm and before there was sugar cane...we farmed watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumber, tomato, chile, papaya and other crops that helped our families subsist and also generated work," said community leader Albino Mejia...Starting in 2005, palm and sugar cane companies moved in to take over land rights for plantations, raising lease rates for subsistence farmers, and draining water sources used by those small farmers who still had access to land. As a consequence, people have been displaced. Many migrate north to the US.