WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
4 Sep 2008 | News

WOLA and Other Groups Voice Concern Over Attacks on Guatemalan Rights Defenders

WOLA and 25 other national and international organizations have sent a letter to Guatemala’s newly appointed Attorney General José Amilcar Velásquez expressing concern about the continued attacks and threats against human rights defenders in Guatemala. It also calls attention to the recent rise in attacks on trade unionists in the country.

The signatories of the letter urge the new attorney general to build the capacity of the Public Prosecutor’s Office to investigate and prosecute those responsible for attacks against human rights defenders.

The letter also urges Attorney General Velásquez to purge the institution of individuals linked to illegal groups and to address the major human rights and institutional challenges that it faces.

In the letter, WOLA and the other organizations also express concern over a growing  tendency to criminalize social protest in Guatemala, as demonstrated by the recent arrests of numerous peaceful protesters and the persecution of individuals who provide legal assistance to them.  

Attorney General Velásquez has the opportunity to make the Public Prosecutor’s Office an effective body to combat impunity in Guatemala,” said Maureen Meyer, WOLA Associate for Mexico and Central America. “A key part of this task will be ensuring that prompt and impartial investigations are carried out into attacks against human rights defenders in the country.

To read the text of the letter to Attorney General Velázquez, click here .


Maureen Meyer, (202) 797 2171