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News Article

The Colombian Ombudsman’s Office (DPC) has reported that 181 social leaders and human rights defenders were murdered in 2023, marking a 16 percent decrease from the previous year. The annual report highlights the challenging situation faced by those dedicated to promoting and safeguarding community rights. Despite the decrease, the Ombudsman expressed concern about ongoing risks in regions affected by armed conflicts. The most affected groups include community members, indigenous people, peasants, Afro-descendants, victims, SOGID-LGBTIQ+ individuals, and human rights activists. The report indicates that April, June, and July had the highest number of murders. Cauca, Antioquia, and Nariño accounted for 41% of the cases, with Cauca being the most affected. The Ombudsman calls for intensified efforts to protect human rights defenders, urging state entities to implement preventive measures. Despite the 2016 peace accord, serious human rights concerns persist in Colombia, including abuses by armed groups, limited access to justice, and high poverty levels, particularly affecting Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities. The government generally investigates these issues, but delays are common. Armed groups, including former guerrillas and drug traffickers, contribute to human rights abuses.

News Article

The article narrates the story of Indigenous communities in the Ixquisis valley in north-west Guatemala facing a conflict over a hydroelectric project by the company Energía y Renovación. The company promised development benefits, but locals, led by figures like Juan Alonzo and María Bautista, opposed it due to environmental concerns and false promises. The opposition intensified, leading to violent clashes and the death of Sebastián Alonzo in 2017. The article highlights the dangers faced by environmental activists in Latin America and the pivotal role of women like Bautista in opposing the project. Their efforts, including legal actions, led to the withdrawal of funding for the project in 2022, emphasizing the importance of protecting water resources for the Indigenous communities. Despite the setback, Energía y Renovación remains determined to continue the project.

News Article

As we dive into our work for the New Year, we wanted to take a moment to thank you. You’ve helped bring about change  in Guatemala! Shortly after midnight. on January 15, Bernardo Arévalo was inaugurated as Guatemala's president, fulfilling the hopes of many for a new Guatemalan spring.

Until the last minute, sectors opposed to his presidency threatened to derail the inauguration, which was delayed  by nearly nine hours. At around 11:00 PM, former president Alejandro Giammattei–who has now been denied a visa for the United States, due to well-founded evidence of corruption–turned the office over the to Guatemalan Congress rather than to Arévalo, saying he feared that midnight, the deadline for the transfer of power, would arrive without the transition. He did not appear at the inauguration.

News Article

More than 100 national and international organizations demand that the Honduran authorities respect the decision of the People of Tocoa to say NO to the petroleum coke thermoelectric plant and the Emco mining megaproject, among other demands. See the complete list of signatories here.

On Saturday, December 9, 2023, the town of Tocoa was called by the Municipal Corporation to participate in an open town hall on the Ecotek petroleum coke thermoelectric project, one of the seven components of an iron oxide megaproject promoted by the "Emco Holdings" consortium of Ana Facusse and Lenir Perez.

News Article

On January 14, the Nicaraguan Government issued the following press release. The unofficial translation is from Tortilla con Sal. 

The Presidency of the Republic, the Government of Reconciliation and National Unity and the People of Nicaragua, express deep thanks to the Holy Father Pope Francis, the Secretariat of State of the Holy See, its Titular Cardinal His Most Reverend Eminence Pietro Parolin and his Work Team for the very respectful and discreet coordination carried out to make possible the journey to the Vatican of two bishops, fifteen priests and two seminarians. 

The list of these people is as follows: 

1. BISHOP ROLANDO JOSÉ ÁLVAREZ LAGOS
2. BISHOP ISIDORO DEL CARMEN MORA ORTEGA
3. OSCAR JOSÉ ESCOTO SALGADO
4. JADER DANILO GUIDO ACOSTA
5. PABLO ANTONIO VILLAFRANCA MARTÍNEZ
6. CARLOS JOSÉ AVILÉS CANTON
7. HÉCTOR DEL CARMEN TREMINIO VEGA
8. MARCOS FRANCISCO DIAZ PRADO
9. FERNANDO ISAÍAS CALERO RODRÍGUEZ
10. SILVIO JOSÉ FONSECA MARTÍNEZ
11. MIKEL SALVADOR MONTERREY ARIAS
12. RAÚL ANTONIO ZAMORA GUERRA
13. MIGUEL AGUSTÍN MANTICA CUADRA
14. JHADER ANTONIO HERNÁNDEZ URBINA
15. GERARDO JOSÉ RODRÍGUEZ PÉREZ
16. ISMAEL REINEIRO SERRANO GUDIEL
17. JOSÉ GUSTAVO SANDINO OCHOA
18. TONNY DANIEL PALACIO SEQUEIRA
19. ALESTER DE JESÚS SÁENZCENTENO 

News Article

Almost a sixth of the Salvadoran population cannot afford to buy meat, eggs, or dairy products. For the country’s poorest families, even rice is not an option. Corn and beans are the daily fare for those who can grow them. In the past three years, 210,456 people have fallen into extreme poverty, meaning they do not make enough to cover the costs of basic staples, and rarely, if ever, eat three meals a day. Some 907,000 Salvadorans suffer severe food insecurity, struggling to survive on the brink of starvation.

News Article

Over the last 12 months, there have been 1,482 ICE removal flights, mostly to Latin America and the Caribbean. Notably, there is a focus on removal flights to countries like Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, raising concerns about the impact on individuals' rights and well-being. Three-quarters of removal flights are to those three countries. 

The lack of access to asylum at ports of entry has led to distressing situations for asylum seekers. US lawmakers are considering stricter restrictions on asylum, jeopardizing the safety and well-being of vulnerable individuals. The need for improving access to asylum and addressing the challenges faced by asylum seekers, especially women and children, is crucial. 

Read the full IRTF Migrant Justice Newsletter each month at https://www.irtfcleveland.org/blog .

 

News Article

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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