On July 1, 2014, Guatemalan officials revoked the temporary residence permits of two human rights accompaniers with Peace Brigades International. In response to their expulsion, the Convergence for Human Rights (Convergencia por los Derechos Humanos), a network of Guatemalan social, environmental, human rights, feminist, campesino and territorial defense organizations released the following statement. Spanish version here.
The below-signed social, environmental, human rights, feminist, campesino and territorial defense organizations demand our right to defend human rights and count on solidarity accompaniment in doing so.
At the beginning of this month, two volunteers from Peace Brigades International (PBI) were ordered by Guatemalan migration authorities to leave the country. The notification was sent to both of the observers, but failed to include a description of the acts being applied to the articles of migration law that would imply their obligatory exit from the country.
In a misleading affirmation, the head of the Ministry of the Interior, retired coronal Héctor Mauricio López Bonilla, affirmed having seen videos in which the PBI observers appear throwing rocks at members of the National Civil Police (PNC). The action would have taken place during the violent eviction of the peaceful resistance at La Puya, which was carried out with an abuse of power and violence by the security forces under the command of the Minister [of the Interior]. Nevertheless, in the cancellation notice of their temporary residence permits, these acts are not explained; the same acts which, as it has been indicated, are false.
The actions perpetrated by the authorities of the Ministry of the Interior, including violently repressing the peaceful resistance -to the extreme of handcuffing a national observer from the Human Rights Defenders Protection Unit (UDEFEGUA)-, and later, harassing the international observers in solidarity, violates the right to defend rights. While the Political Constitution of the Republic requires the government to respect and protect defenders of human rights, the rights to liberty of association, reunion, protest and expression are limited. Likewise, [we see] the installation of politics of xenophobia, which is typical of authoritarian regimes and dictatorial enemies of democracy.
For these motives, the below-signed persons and organizations:
Guatemala, July 6, 2014
Centro de Análisis Forense y Ciencias Aplicadas (CAFCA); Centro para la Acción Legal en Derechos Humanos (CALDH); Centro de Acción Legal Ambiental y Social (CALAS); Centro Internacional para Investigaciones en Derechos Humanos (CIIDH); Equipo de Estudios Comunitarios y Acción Psicosial (ECAP); Asociación El Refugio de la Niñez; Instituto de Estudios Comparados en Ciencias Penales de Guatemala (ICCPG);Oficina de Derechos Humanos de Arzobispado de Guatemala (ODHAG); Seguridad en Democracia (SEDEM); Unidad de Protección a Defensoras y Defensores de Derechos Humanos (UDEFEGUA); Unión Nacional de Mujeres Guatemaltecas (UNAMG)
AMISMAXAJ; Asociación Kaji’ B’atz; CCNUEVODIA; ILUGUA; Puente de Paz; OASIS