Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders Annual Report 2006 - Guatemala

Assassinations, assassination attempts and enforced disappearances

Lack of investigation into the assassinations of Messrs. Juan López Velásquez, Álvaro Juárez and "Paulina"138

As of the end of 2006, no further information was available about the circumstances surrounding the murders of Mr. Juan López Velásquez, a member of the Farmers' Unity Committee (Comité de Unidad Campesina), Mr. Álvaro Juárez, head and co-founder of the Association of the Displaced Persons of Péten (Asociación de Población Desarraigada del Péten – APDP) and president of the Development Committee of the Vista Hermosa colony in San Benito, and Mr. Juan Pablo Méndez Cartagena, alias "Paulina". In addition, Mr. Álvaro Juárez's family had to leave the country for fear for their safety.

On March 14, 2005, Mr. López Velásquez was killed during the violent suppression, by the National Civil Police (Policía Nacional Civil – PNC), of a peaceful demonstration protesting against the Free Trade Agreement between the United States, Central America and the Caribbean (CAFTA). During these demonstrations, the PNC had used teargas and water canons.

On July 8, 2005, Mr. Álvaro Juárez was killed at his home after an attempt on his life had been made a few days earlier. Mr. Juárez had reported the assassination attempt to the police, but the authorities had not reacted. For fear of reprisals, Mr. Juárez's family decided not to file a complaint after his assassination.

On December 17, 2005, "Paulina" and Mr. Kevin Robles, alias "Sulma", both members of the Organisation for an Integral Sexuality AIDS Support (Organización de Apoyo a una Sexualidad Integral frente al SIDA – OASIS), were in "Zone 1" of Guatemala City when four men in police uniforms riding motorbikes shot at them. "Paulina" was hit twice in the head and died on the spot. "Sulma" received three bullets and was admitted to hospital in a critical condition, which later stabilised.

Status of the investigation into the assassination of Mr. Harold Rafael Pérez Gallardo139

In 2006, although a criminal investigation into the assassination of Mr. Harold Rafael Pérez Gallardo, a lawyer working in the legal office of the NGO Casa Alianza Guatemala, was launched by the Public Prosecutor, the perpetrators of the crime could still not be identified. According to the Prosecutor, the PNC did not receive sufficient information.

Mr. Pérez Gallardo was killed by two gunshots on September 2, 2005, in Guatemala City. He was defending cases initiated by Casa Alianza Guatemala, in particular cases of illegal adoptions, trafficking and murders of street children.

Assassination attempt against Mr. Mario Corado Solórzano Puac140

On January 30, 2006, Mr. Mario Corado Solórzano Puac, founder and president of the Richard Solórzano Foundation141, was sitting in front of his house with his son Abner Alexander Solórzano Contreras, a member of the organisation, and a friend of the latter, Mr. Jonathan Valente Barrios Mérida, when a vehicle pulled over in front of them.

The car's occupants, heavily armed and probably members of the reserve and special forces of the PNC, started shooting at the group, injuring the young Jonathan who died a few minutes later.

This attack might have been linked to the complaint lodged by Mr. Mario Corado Solórzano Puac against the State of Guatemala with the IACHR, accusing the PNC and the Public Prosecutor of Coatepeque of omission and dereliction of their duties in the case of Mr. Richard Solórzano's assassination.

On February 1, 2006, the Human Rights Prosecutor of Coatepeque ordered an investigation and transferred Mr. Solórzano's request to the Coatepeque peace judge to urgently grant his family protection measures.

On February 9, 2006, protection was granted for an undetermined period of time by the Quetzaltenango Public Prosecutor. However, in May 2006, the Coatepeque Public Prosecutor suspended these measures after the denunciation made by Mr. Solórzano to the IACHR.

Since then, Mr. Corado Solórzano Puac has continuously been intimidated.

By the end of 2006, the investigation into this assassination attempt and Jonathan's murder was still pending.

Assassination attempt against Ms. Claudia Jeannette Rivas Rosil142

On March 20, 2006, a man shot at Ms. Claudia Jeannette Rivas Rosil, regional delegate of the Union of Education Workers of Guatemala (Síndicato de Trabajadores de la Educación de Guatemala – STEG) in Jutiapa, as she was in a car with a friend. Ms. Rivas Rosil was not injured. On March 24, 2006, unidentified individuals came to her workplace, asking for her home address and her usual time of arrival at work.

On April 22, 2006, she noticed a vehicle parked in front of the Education Department from where she was walking out. The same vehicle had been seen in front of her house for one hour, earlier that day.

In addition, Ms. Rivas Rosil received numerous phone calls threatening her and warning her that she was being closely watched. No further acts of harassment were reported following these events.

Assassination of Mrs. Meregilda Súchite143

On April 2, 2006, Mrs. Meregilda Súchite, leader of the Tuticopote Abajo community in the Olopa region, department of Chiquimula, and a member of the Women's Network of the Human Rights Observatory, set up by the Centre for Legal Action in Human Rights (Centro para la Acción Legal en Derechos Humanos – CALDH), in the Ch'orti' region, was murdered while on her way to church with her husband. She was killed with six bullets and four machete blows. The suspected perpetrator was thought to be a member of security services (Servicios Integrales de Seguridad – SIS).

As of the end of 2006, no investigation had been opened into Mrs. Súchite's death. The Esquipulas Prosecutor further told her husband, Mr. Longino Díaz, that he was unable to record his witness statement or open an inquiry since he had not received the reports from the police and the peace judge – with whom Mr. Díaz had lodged a complaint.

Assassination of Mr. Antonio Ixbalan Cali and his wife144

On April 5, 2006, Mr. Antonio Ixbalan Cali, president of the Santiago Atitlan Farmers' Association (Asociación de Agricultores de Santiago Atitlan) – an association affiliated to the Indigenous and Farmers' National Coordination (Coordinadora Nacional Indígena y Campesina – CONIC) -, and his wife, Mrs. María Petzey Coo, were shot by four men in their home in Valaparaíso, in the Chicacao region. Mrs. Petzey Coo died on the spot, while Mr. Ixbalan Cali died several hours later in hospital.

These murders occurred shortly after CONIC and other organisations had announced the organisation of a national demonstration in protest against the authorities' passivity in the conflict between landowners.

Enforced disappearance of Mr. Oscar Humberto Duarte Paíz and threats against ASIDECQ members145

On May 24, 2006, Mr. Oscar Humberto Duarte Paíz was abducted by six armed men at the entrance of the Sanjuaneros conference room, reserved for Sanjuaneros community organisations. He was the secretary of the Association for the Development of Quetzal City and the Aledañas Neighbourhoods (Asociación Integral para el Desarollo de Ciudad Quetzal y Colonias Aledañas – ASIDECQ) in San Juan Sacatepéquez, manager of the Education Commission of the Housing and Other Services Cooperative (Comisión de Educación de la Cooperativa de la Vivienda y Servicios Varios) in El Esfuerzo, a member of the Network for Life (Red Por la Vida) and of the administration team of the public medical clinic (Equipo para la Administración de la Clinica Médica Popular). The vehicles used in his abduction had reportedly been lurking around the neighbourhood for several hours.

On May 6, 2006, Mr. Duarte Paíz and ASIDECQ had been the mediators between the community and the police during an incident.

On May 28, 2006, the wife of Mr. René Guzmán Quiñónez, ASIDECQ president, received death threats over the phone. On June 6, 2006, unidentified individuals driving an unregistered vehicle with tinted windows lurked around her home.

Later that day, as Mr. David Alarcón, an ASIDECQ member, was on his way home on a moped, a vehicle with tinted windows tried to push him off the road. After he managed to lose his attackers for several minutes, he was once again chased by the same car.

On June 10, 2006, the vehicle used for the abduction of Mr. Duarte was again spotted by leaders of the association in front of the Sanjuaneros conference room. One of its passengers, heavily armed, stepped out of the car to inspect the place.

As of the end of 2006, Mr. Oscar Humberto Duarte Paíz remained reported missing.

Assassination of Ms. Carmen Sagastume146

On August 18, 2006, Ms. Carmen Sagastume, a member of the National Coordination for the Peoples and Marginalised Regions of Guatemala (Coordinadora Nacional de Pobladores y Áreas Marginales de Guatemala – CONAPAMG), which promotes housing rights, and founder of the Carmen del Monte Community (Villa Nueva), was assassinated at her home.

Assassination of Mr. William Noe Requena Oliveros147

On October 31, 2006, William Noe Requena Oliveros, a delegate of the Unity for Popular and Trade Union Action (Unidad de Acción Sindical y Popular – UASP) and head of the God's Gift Association (Asociación Regalito de Dios), was found dead in Peronia, municipality of Villa Nueva, where the organisation's headquarters are located.

Mr. Oliveros had taken part in the negotiations with the Guatemalan Fund for Housing (Fondo Guatemalteco para la Vivienda – FOGUAVI) and the Republic's Congress in favour of land redistribution in the city of Peronia.

Threats and acts of harassment

Ongoing acts of harassment against the Ixqik Women's Association148

In 2006, members of the Ixqik Women's Association (Asociación de Mujeres Ixqik), based in Santa Elena, continued to be harassed and threatened, in reprisal of their activities for the defence and legal support of gender violence victims in the Petén region.

On January 9, 2006 for instance, unidentified individuals entered the association's offices and stole Ms. Gloria Aurora González Vásquez' bag. The following day, her belongings were found scattered on the ground of the third floor of the organisation's building. However, the notebook in which Ms. González Vásquez kept the details of the cases on which she works had disappeared.

On the night of January 11, 2006, unidentified individuals tried to break into the organisation's new offices, even though their address had not yet been publicly disclosed.

On July 2, 2006, Ms. Argentina Osorio Azañón, a member of the association, received phone calls threatening her with death.

Since November 11, 2005, members of the association enjoy precautionary measures granted by the IACHR, although on an irregular basis.

Judicial proceedings against several members of the Clermont Trade Union149

On January 2, 2006, Ms. Silvia Eugenia Widman Lagarde de Diaz, owner of the industrial farm of Clermont and sister-in-law of the President of the Republic, filed a complaint against Messrs. José Arturo Ramos Pérez, Francisco Javier López López, Carlos Rolando Ramos Rodríguez, Delfino López Alonzo and Alejandro López Esteban, members of the Clermont Trade Union affiliated to the General Central Confederation of Workers of Guatemala (Confederación Central General de Trabajadores de Guatemala – CGTG) in San Pablo San Marcos, for "illegal detention, coercion and threats". This complaint came as a result of the trade union's opposition to the intervention of 150 PNC members in the eviction of several farmers occupying the buildings of the farm. This case was being examined by the Malacatán Criminal Courts of First Instance and of Offences to the Environment.

Furthermore, on January 12, 2006, a man introducing himself as a corporal of the Guatemalan army came to the Clermont farm, stating that he was carrying out an investigation under the auspices of the government. He then threatened to kill the union's leaders.

Harassment of Mr. Carlos Morales150

On January 3, 2006, Mr. Carlos Morales, leader of the Trade Union of Farmers' Organisations of Verapaz (Unión Verapacense de Organizaciones Campesinas – UVOC), Santa Cruz, Alta Verapaz, which provides support to farmers who have been evicted from their land, noticed that a vehicle was watching his home.

On January 12, 2006, another car, with tinted windows, stayed parked in front of his house for a long period. After it left, a motorcycle patrolled around the neighbourhood, as if it was watching the place.

Threats against Mr. Fredy Armando Peccerelli and his family151

On January 9, 2006, Mr. Fredy Armando Peccerelli, a member of the Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala (Fundación de Antropología Forense de Guatemala – FAFG), received a call on his mobile phone threatening to kill his brother.

On January 10, 2006, a hand-written anonymous letter was dropped off at the home of his sister, Ms. Bianca Peccerelli, and his brother-in-law, Mr. Omar Bertoni, threatening them with death if Mr. Peccerelli continued to carry out his activities.

Again, on March 15, 2006, an anonymous message was left on his mobile phone, threatening to kill his brothers and sisters.

Judicial proceedings against Mr. Eswin Ranferi López and Mr. Carmelino López152

On January 11, 2006, a complaint against Mr. Eswin Ranferi López, a lawyer representing 11 farm workers denouncing their unfair dismissal in 1997 following the creation of the Nueva Florencia Farm Workers' Union in Colomba Costa Cuca, Qetzaltenango, and Mr. Carmelino López, leader of the union, was lodged with the Prosecutor of the Coatepeque District by the farm manager for "threats, break-in of the premises and coercion". As of the end of 2006, this complaint had not yet been examined.

In 1997, the trade union had requested the inititation of judicial proceedings to obtain the reinstatement of and compensation for the workers who lost their jobs. In 2006, the Court of First Instance for Labour, Social Prevention and Family of Coatepeque (Quetzaltenango) sentenced the land owner to pay the salaries arrears from 1997 to 2006, amounting to 821,000 quetzals (83,000 euros). In light of the farm manager's refusal to comply with this decision, the Court ordered the sale of part of the farm to pay the salaries in May 2006.

On May 5 and 6, 2006, the sale was announced on the radio. Three armed men, close to the landowner, then stood in front of Mr. Eswin López's home in an intimidating manner. His house was later circled with barbwire while he was at work, thereby preventing him from entering his home.

In June 2006, as the landowner failed to appear at a hearing during which the terms of the sale were to be discussed, the Court scheduled the date for the signature of the bill of sale for January 18, 2007.

Acts of reprisals against Mr. Ranferi López have reportedly diminished since June 2006.

Acts of intimidation against CODECA153

On January 26 and 27, 2006, several unidentified individuals came to the Committee for Farming Development (Comité de Desarollo Campesino – CODECA) offices in Mazatenango, Suchitepéquez, looking for information about the organisation's members.

On January 30, 2006, two heavily armed men in military uniforms came to CODECA offices, going by names likely to be fictious, and questioned the members on the basis of the information gathered by the previous visitors.

CODECA notably supports farmers of the agricultural exploitation of Nueva Linda to highlight the disappearance of one of their colleagues, Mr. Héctor Reyes, who has been reported missing since 2004.

Acts of harassment against Ms. Rosa Aracely González154

On March 1, 2006, Ms. Rosa Aracely González, secretary of the legal department of the Municipal Workers' Union of the Municipality of Escuintla (Sindicato de Trabajadores Municipales de la Municipalidad de Escuintla), was followed by a man riding a motorbike while on her way home from work. Three days earlier, during a visit of Mr. Álvaro Colom, a National Union of Hope (Union Nacional de la Esperanza – UNE, opposition party) candidate to the 2003 presidential elections, she had denounced, in the name of several organisations, including the Community Development Council (Consejo Comunitario de Desarollo – COCODES), a series of irregularities committed by the mayor, who is also a UNE member. In particular, these organisations criticised the mayor of having excessively increased the rates of public services as well as his intention to raise the price of municipal land reserved to housing.

On March 2, 2006, a man on a motorbike once again followed Ms. Rosa Aracely González, as she was on her way to pick up her children from school.

On March 28, 2006, while she was travelling with her two children and a nephew on her moped, two men on motorbikes tried to make her fall by hitting her vehicle twice.

On April 7, 2006, one of these two individuals approached her as she walked out of work.

Arbitrary detention, intimidation and threats against Mr. José Xoj155

On March 3, 2006, Mr. José Xoj, head of the Coordination of Peasants and Indigenous Organisations of Petén (Coordinadora de Organizaciones Campesinas e Indígenas de Petén – COCIP-CNOC) in Santa Elena Petén, was violently arrested by a PNC patrol as he was leaving a meeting. He was taken to the police station, where he spent the night. The next day, he was charged with "breach of public decency" before being released on bail.

On March 5, 2006, unidentified individuals broke into COCIP offices and stole the personal belongings of one of the organisation's leaders. A COCIP member who happened to arrive at that moment was assaulted and received death threats.

On April 22, 2006, unidentified individuals once again broke into COCIP premises and stole computer hard drives containing information regarding the organisation's activities.

On the night of April 24 to 25, 2006, unidentified individuals lurked around Mr. Xoj's house for one hour.

On May 5, 2006, unknown individuals entered his home and left a message threatening his wife with death.

On May 9, 2006, several individuals again attempted to enter his home.

On May 11, 2006, a woman entered his house while his wife and children were inside. She told them that these acts of harassment were aimed at making Mr. Xoj's resign from COCIP.

On the evening of May 19, 2006, three individuals tried to break into his home again.

On the mornings of May 20 and 25, 2006, the security lock of the main door was found forced open, although it had been closed the night before.

Death threats against COCODES members156

On March 23, 2006, the alleged murderer of Ms. Garin Anabella Orellana Ramos, a member of the Community Development Council (COCODES) in Zacapa, who was killed on December 13, 2005, reportedly stated that he "still had two people left to kill in La Nopalera", referring to both Mr. Miguel Angel Cruz Hernández and Ms. Julia Ramos Ramos, prominent members of COCODES and colleagues of Ms. Orellana Ramos. A complaint was lodged with the Public Prosecutor.

Several days prior to her assassination, Ms. Orellana Ramos had publicly denounced corrupt practices and unkept promises made by the Zacapa local council to the local communities.

Breaking and entering of the office of the Human Rights Prosecutor's assistant157

On April 16, 2006, unidentified individuals broke into the office of the Human Rights Prosecutor's assistant in Puerto Barrios, Itzabal, and only took archives with information on investigations regarding PNC members involved in extrajudicial executions. Yet, the office was under the watch of PNC that day.

A similar incident occurred on August 25, 2006.

Death threats against several UPDDH and MNDH members158

On May 12, 2006, Ms. Erenia Vanegas, a member of the Human Rights Defenders Protection Unit159 (Unidad de Protección de Defensoras y Defensores de Derechos Humanos – UPDDH) of the Guatemalan National Human Rights Movement (Movimiento Nacional de los Derechos Humanos de Guatemala – MNDH), received a threatening phone call urging her to put an end to her activities.

On May 15, 2006, Ms. Luisa Pineda, MNDH secretary, also received death threats over the telephone, in which the caller referred to her organisation's activities.

A few days before, a woman had called and tried to obtain information about MNDH staff members and the inquiries they were conducting.

Ms. Ana Gladis Ollas and Ms. Ruth del Valle, both UPDDH members, as well as Mr. Julio Rosales and Ms. Graciela Azmitia, MNDH members, also received similar threats.

These incidents were likely to be directly linked to the assistance provided by several UPDDH members in Petén, Zacapa, Escuintla, la Capital and Jutiapa, to denounce cases of human rights violations in these regions. Moreover, MNDH assists the Human Rights Prosecutor with inquiries relating to cases in which the national police is suspected of having lacked due diligence.

As of the end of 2006, the threats had stopped after complaints were lodged. Investigation into these events was still under way.

Acts of harassment against educators of Casa Alianza and MOJOCA160

On June 1, 2006, several educators of Casa Alianza Guatemala, an NGO involved in the support and protection of the rights of street children and young people of Guatemala, were approached by police officers and questioned about their activities. When one of the instructors explained the activities of the organisation, one of the police officers "advised" him to "be careful" and not to interfere with this business, or there would be reprisals.

In addition, on June 6, 2006, in Guatemala City, a female educator from the Street Children's Movement (Movimiento de Jóvenes de la Calle – MOJOCA) was insulted by a soldier who was assaulting a homeless young man she was trying to protect.

By the end of 2006, Casa Alianza and MOJOCA members continued to be intimidated.

Intimidation of members of the Armed Conflict's Reparations Committee of Lagune El Jute161

On June 17, 2006, an unidentified individual standing outside the home of Mr. Miguel Ángel Gallardo Álvarez, a member of the Armed Conflict's Reparations Committee of Lagune El Jute (Comité de Resarcimineto del Conflicto Armado de la Laguna El Jute), fired his gun in direction of the house.

On June 25, 2006, Mr. Francisco Javier Rivera received death threats in a note sent by members of the Salomón military station.

On July 12, 2006, a relative of Mr. Isidoro de Jesús Gallardo, another Committee member, heard two men say they would execute members of the organisation as soon as the government change in November 2007.

Threats and acts of intimidation against Mr. Francisco López162

On July 11 and 21, 2006, unidentified individuals attempted to abduct the daughters of Mr. Francisco López, a member of the Southern Peasants' Union (Unión Campesina del Sur). Several people alerted by the girls' cries were able to prevent their abduction.

On July 21, 2006, Mr. López received an anonymous phone call at his office, threatening him with death if he did not give up his activities.

On September 15, 2006, a vehicle stayed parked in front of his home for one hour.

On September 22, 2006, five women came to his house and questioned his wife on his daily habits.

As of the end of 2006, no further acts of harassment against Mr. López had been reported.

Abduction of Mr. Erwin Estuardo Orrego Borrayo163

On July 27, 2006, Mr. Erwin Estuardo Orrego Borrayo, leader of the Emergency Front for Market Sellers of Guatemala (Frente de Emergencia de Vendedores de Mercados de Guatemala – FEMVEMEGUA), was abducted by armed men dressed in black and claiming to be police officers.

While being held hostage, Mr. Erwin Orrego was subjected to intimidations for several hours. In addition, he overheard a message received over the radio by his abductors stating "stop the operation, I'll take over". One of the abductors reportedly asked, "should we kill him?", to which the person they were speaking to answered in the negative.

Mr. Orrego Borrayo was subsequently transported in several different vehicles and left on the side of a road in Boca del Monte, in Villa Nueva.

On several occasions, he had noticed that he was being followed or watched by people driving a vehicle with tinted windows.

Mr. Orrego Borrayo lodged a complaint with the Public Prosecutor on October 10, 2006. The investigation was still under way and had produced no concrete results as of the end of 2006.

Furthermore, on February 7, 2006, Mr. Guillermo Alfredo Santizo, a FEMVEMEGUA leader, also received death threats due to his activities. The complaint he lodged with the Public Prosecutor has had no outcome.

Death threats and acts of intimidation against Mr. Maynor Roberto Berganza Bethancourt164

On August 22, 2006, around 7.30 pm, Mr. Maynor Roberto Berganza Bethancourt, a human rights lawyer, received a phone call from a man introducing himself as Carlos García, who accused him of being a member of "an organised crime group" and threatened to kill him.

On August 12, 2006, Mr. Berganza Bethancourt had received a message from an unknown number on his mobile phone calling him an "idiot".

On August 24, 2006, a person claiming to be a member of the Central Action Committee (Comité Central de Acción) came to his office. When Mr. Berganza Bethancourt asked the person where his organisation's headquarters were located, he answered: "in the President's house" and left. Shortly after, Mr. Berganza Bethancourt received two threatening anonymous phone calls. The first caller told him: "if you don't love your family, there are two people here with me who've asked me to give them some water".

Mr. Berganza Bethancourt had already been similarly harassed in the past. In June 2003 for instance, his office was searched and the hard drives of three computers, as well as evidence in connection with a case against the Guatemalan army, were stolen.

Mr. Berganza Bethancourt reported these events to the Public Prosecutor and to the Human Rights Prosecutor's office. Although a bodyguard was assigned to ensure his protection, Mr. Berganza Bethancourt still feared for his life in late 2006.

As of the end of 2006, the investigation conducted by the office of the Human Rights Prosecutor into these threats was still under way.

Death threats against Mr. Roly Bigail Escobar Ochoa165

On September 9, 2006, Mr. Roly Bigail Escobar Ochoa, general coordinator of the National Coordination of the Inhabitants and Marginalised Regions of Guatemala (Coordinadora Nacional de Pobladores y Áreas Marginales de Guatemala – CONAPAMG) and a member of one of the Community Councils of Carmen del Monte (Villa Nueva), received death threats. Indeed, armed individuals spread word throughout the Carmen del Monte community that "he was going to have problems and that his blood would be shed", that they knew where he lived and that the only way to solve the community's problems was to "physically eliminate him". When Mr. Escobar Ochoa heard about this, he went into hiding.

The following day, Mr. Escobar Ochoa reported these threats to the office of the Human Rights Prosecutor of Guatemala. CONAPAMG identified one of the individuals who threatened Mr. Escobar Ochoa as one of the individuals suspected in the assassination of Ms. Carmen Sagastume166.

Since September 14, 2006, individuals have been watching the home of Mr. Escobar Ochoa who thus remained in hiding.

Moreover, on the night of September 20, 2006, the home of his ex-wife and their sons was also watched by two men. Mr. Escobar Ochoa informed the police in vain.

Death threats against ECAP members167

On October 2, 2006, members of the Community Studies and Psychosocial Action Team (Equipo de Estudios Comunitarios y Acción Psicosocial – ECAP) received, at their headquarters in Rabinal, Baja Verapaz, a threatening letter explicitly referring to their activities, in particular to exhumations carried out in the framework of the victims' assistance programme of the Plan de Sánchez community168. Through this programme, ECAP has already obtained a ruling of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACoHR) requesting the Guatemalan State to grant provisional measures of protection, and has instituted new proceedings related to the genocide.

Moreover, on September 30, 2006, one of ECAP staff member was followed for several hours in Rabinal by an unregistered vehicle with tinted windows.

Attack and threats against members of the National Doctors' Union169

On October 13, 2006, as Mr. Abner Vásquez, a member of the National Doctors' Union (Sindicato Nacional de Médicos), was leaving his home, two individuals approached him and violently hit him before running away.

The next day, Messrs. Sergio Morales and Sergio Rivas, also members of the union, received leaflets stating that they could well be the next targets of a similar aggression and that they would "not be as lucky as him".

Breaking and entering of several NGO offices

Breaking and entering of CCDA premises170

On March 26, 2006, the doors of the offices of the Peasants' Committee of Altiplano (Comité Campesino del Altiplano – CCDA) in San Lucas Tolimán Sololá were broken open. Unidentified individuals stole, among other things, the hard drive of the computer containing accounting documents and other information regarding the Committee's activities.

Breaking and entering of the FUNDESCO and UDINOV headquarters171

On March 27, 2006, the offices of the Foundation for a Community Development (Fundación para el Desarollo Communitario – FUNDESCO) were broken into. Unidentified individuals notably stole hard drives and a laptop containing information regarding the organisation's activities and accounts.

On May 29, 2006, FUNDESCO headquarters were again searched but nothing was stolen. Moreover, several individuals stayed posted near the building during the day and took some pictures. FUNDESCO staff members also photographed one of the individuals and sent the pictures as evidence to the Human Rights Prosecutor after filing a complaint.

On March 27, 2006, the offices of the neighbouring organisation, Unity for a Complete Development Association (Asociación Unidad de Desarollo Integral – UDINOV), were also burgled.

Acts of intimidation against two women's rights organisations172

On the night of May 28 to 29, 2006, the headquarters of the NGO Women's Sector (Sector de Mujeres), in Guatemala City, were burgled by unidentified individuals who stole several mobile phones and the fax machine, and searched through the archives. They also left traces of blood at various places in the office, as a sign of intimidation and threat towards the organisation's members.

In June 2004, a similar incident had occurred, for which the organisation had filed a complaint.

Women's Sector is a coordination of women's organisations which has denounced, for over 12 years, the violations of individual and collective rights of women and has fought against impunity. It also takes part, as an observer, in the National Council of Peace Agreements and in the National Council of Development. It is also involved in the judicial review of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), instituted by the Constitutional Court and the Platform of Social Organisations (Colectivo de Organizaciones Sociales – COS).

On June 6, 2006, the offices of the National Union of Guatemalan Women (Unión Nacional de Mujeres Guatemaltecas – UNAMAG) in Chimaltenango were similarly broken into. Several objects were stolen, in particular a computer dedicated to the "project for victims militating for change", which addresses women survivors of the armed conflict. Many documents were looked through and scattered around.

UNAMAG, also a COS-affiliate, regularly denounces feminicide as well as the impunity of perpetrators of women's rights violations.

By the end of 2006, the two organisations had received no further threats and the Public Prosecutor's investigation was still under way.

Break-in attempts on FMLL premises173

On two occasions, on the nights of July 19 and August 9, 2006, unidentified individuals tried to break in the offices of the Mario López Larrave Foundation (Fundación Mario López Larrave – FMLL), but had to leave when the alarm went off.

FMLL conducts inquiries and provides assistance to trade unions, sheltering the headquarters of several of them.

Breaking and entering of AVIHDESMI offices and physical assault on Mr. Pablo Ical Mo174

On August 19, 2006, the offices of the Assocation for Widows, Orphans and Disabled (Asociación de Viudas, Huérfanos y Discapacitaodos – AVIHDESMI) in Panzós, Alta Verapaz, were broken into by unidentified individuals who stole accounting document, floppy disks and files containing witness statements of victims and information regarding human rights violations committed against communities, as well as two cameras. They also destroyed the computer in which witness statements of victims and other important information were stored.

Furthermore, on August 25, 2006, Mr. Pablo Ical Mo, an AVIHDESMI member, was assaulted by the son of a former head of a civilian self-defence patrol, who had been denounced by a victim under the care of the organisation. The assailant first hit him and slightly injured him with a machete, before several people intervened.

[Refworld note: This report as posted on the FIDH website (www.fidh.org) was in pdf format with country chapters run together by region. Footnote numbers have been retained here, so do not necessarily begin at 1.]

138. See Annual Report 2005.

139. Idem.

140. See Urgent Appeal GTM 001/0206/OBS 020.

141. The Richard Solórzano Foundation was created by Mr. Mario Corado Solórzano, seeking justice for his son's murder on March 10, 2003, which the organisation owes its name to. After overcoming many obstacles, Mr. Mario Corado Solórzano filed a complaint with the IACHR in order to press charges against the Guatemalan State for the impunity of Richard Solórzano's murder. The IACHR ruled the case admissible. Since then, Mr. Solózarno has undertaken various steps in order to provide the required information.

142. See Human Rights Defenders Protection Unit (UPDDH) of the National Movement for Human Rights (MNDH), Situación de Defensores y Defensoras de Derechos Humanos – Informe Preliminar Enero-Octubre de 2006, October 2006.

143. See Urgent Appeal GTM 002/0406/OBS 047.

144. Idem.

145. See UPDDH, Situación de Defensores y Defensoras de Derechos Humanos – Informe Preliminar Enero-Octubre de 2006, October 2006.

146. See Urgent Appeal GTM 008/0906/OBS 113.

147. See UPDDH, Situación de Defensores y Defensoras de Derechos Humanos – Informe Preliminar Enero-Octubre de 2006, October 2006.

148. See Annual Report 2005.

149. See UPDDH, Situación de Defensores y Defensoras de Derechos Humanos – Informe Preliminar Enero-Octubre de 2006, October 2006.

150. Idem.

151. Idem.

152. Idem.

153. Idem.

154. Idem.

155. Idem.

156. Idem.

157. Idem.

158. See Urgent Appeal GTM 003/0506/OBS 061.

159. UPDDH was created in 2003 by MNDH to investigate cases of attacks against human rights defenders. This unit has already investigated cases involving security forces and/or civil servants, and others linked to organised crime.

160. See Urgent Appeal GTM 005/0606/OBS 074.

161. See UPDDH, Situación de Defensores y Defensoras de Derechos Humanos – Informe Preliminar Enero-Octubre de 2006, October 2006.

162. Idem.

163. See Urgent Appeal GTM 006/0806/OBS 090.

164. See Urgent Appeal GTM 007/0906/OBS 105.

165. See Urgent Appeal GTM 008/0906/OBS 113.

166. See above.

167. See Closed Letter to the Guatemalan authorities, October 5, 2006.

168. Numerous members of the Community of Plan de Sánchez were assassinated during the genocide that took place from 1980 to 1986.

169. See UPDDH, Situación de Defensores y Defensoras de Derechos Humanos – Informe Preliminar Enero-Octubre de 2006, October 2006.

170. Idem.

171. Idem.

172. See Urgent Appeal GTM 004/0606/OBS 067.

173. See UPDDH, Situación de Defensores y Defensoras de Derechos Humanos – Informe Preliminar Enero-Octubre de 2006, October 2006.

174. Idem.


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