The serious situation for those who work for human rights in Guatemala was painfully illustrated by the deaths of two human rights defenders in January 2017. John Nduna, General Secretary of the ACT Alliance, said, “ACT Alliance was founded to work towards a world where all people can live with dignity, justice and full respect for human rights and the environment. Threats, intimidation, and violence against people who are peacefully protecting their own and their communities’ rights cannot be allowed.”
The Guatemala ACT Forum has released a statement urging:
- The Public Prosecutor (MP) and corresponding authorities to investigate the assassination and attacks against human rights defenders in Guatemala, identify the perpetrators and initiate legal proceedings.
- The Human Rights Ombudsman (PDH) to fulfill its mandate of observing human rights and making recommendations to the Guatemalan state about how to improve the fulfillment of national and international human rights obligations, especially with regards to indigenous peoples and human rights defenders.
- The Ministry of the Interior to guarantee the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, especially for rural populations and indigenous peoples organizing in favor of their rights to land, water, and self-determination as indigenous peoples.
- The State of Guatemala to implement the mechanisms established by ILO Convention 169, and other aspects of national and international law that guarantee the rights of indigenous peoples.
- The international community and the United Nations Human Rights Council to call upon countries with financial investments in the region to monitor and evaluate their actions so that they do not contribute to social conflicts or threats towards human rights defenders who work in favor of social and environmental justice.
- Churches and faith-based organizations to join in solidarity with the rural and indigenous communities of Guatemala who have mobilized in favor of the environment and human rights.
ACT Alliance is a coalition of 144 affiliated churches and organizations that work together in more than 100 countries to foster and promote a positive, sustainable change in the livelihoods of poor and marginalized people regardless of their religion, political beliefs, gender, sexual orientation, race or nationality and in compliance with the strictest international codes and norms.