The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) condemns the violent break-ins of the offices of the Central American Institute for Social Democracy Studies (Instituto Centroamericano de Estudios para la Democracia Social, Demos) and the private office of the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Frank La Rue.
On the night of July 31, unidentified individuals illegally entered the Demos Institute and the Special Rapporteur’s officesin Guatemala City. Several computers and documents were stolen, but valuable equipment and appliances were left behind.
WOLA urges the appropriate authorities of the Ministry of the Interior and the Attorney General’s Office to conduct a timely and thorough investigation of the facts and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice. WOLA also urges the Guatemalan government to adopt the necessary measures to ensure that human rights defenders and organizations that promote respect for human rights can carry out their work without fear of reprisals or threats.
WOLA offers its solidarity and support to the Special Rapporteur, the staff of the Demos Institute, and other Guatemalan organizations that monitor and protect human rights in the country.
The Demos Institute is a nongovernmental organization dedicated to promoting democratic values and supporting the progress of youth, women, and indigenous people through training and leadership strengthening. Frank La Rue is an internationally recognized human rights defender. In 2008 he began his tenure as the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.