News recap: Hear the voices of our Guatemalan partners who speak out against the current state of siege, take action to support Xinca land defenders, and read updates on the Maya Achí sexual violence case. Don’t miss out on our monthly donor drive that we’re launching today! Become a monthly sustaining donor this week and you’ll receive a special thank you gift.

Solidarity Update: September 2019 
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Dear Friend,

This month hear the voices of our Guatemalan partners who speak out against the current state of siege, take action to support Xinca land defenders, and read updates on the Maya Achí sexual violence case. Don't miss out on our monthly donor drive that we're launching today! Become a monthly sustaining donor this week and you'll receive a special thank you gift.

Victims of the Internal Armed Conflict and social organizations raise their voices against the state of siege

On September 7, 2019, the Guatemalan Congress approved president Jimmy Morales's executive decree, declaring a thirty-day state of siege in 22 municipalities and five departments. The decree came after an event in Semuy II, El Estor, Izabal, in which three Guatemalan soldiers were killed and multiple community members were injured. 

The state of siege imposes a night-time curfew for the affected areas and suspends constitutional rights such as freedom of movement and the right to peaceful assembly. Victims of the Internal Armed Conflict, social organizations and social movements have declared their complete rejection of the State's latest attempt to militarize and criminalize Indigenous communities. 
“As a survivor, I am saddened to hear of the decree of a state of siege. It feels as though we are returning again to the time of violence and it is an inappropriate measure because we are in a time of peace. Although the state of siege does not apply directly in our region, the effects of this violence are felt by survivors throughout the country.” Member of the Association for Justice and Reconciliation (AJR)

One year later, Xinka land defenders against Escobal mine return to Constitutional Court

September fourth marked the one year anniversary of the historic Constitutional Court decision that suspended the Escobal mine and ordered a consultation of affected Xinka people according to their customs. In violation of the rights of Indigenous peoples, the Guatemalan government has attempted to move forward the consultation process without the participation of the Xinka Parliament, the elected ancestral authority of the Xinka people. Meanwhile, Pan American Silver, owner of the Escobal mine, continues to tell shareholders that it is fully confident that the mine will be back up and running. This year, nearly 1500 people returned to the capital to send a clear message: affected communities will continue to defend their land despite the government’s bad faith attempts to push through an illegal and discriminatory consultation process.  

Peaceful demonstrators assemble outside of the Supreme Court of Justice for the September 4 march

Learn more about the march and the decade-long resistance
“Aware of our rights and with hope, we lay the groundwork for Guatemala to develop its consultation process with Indigenous communities. One year after the historical sentence by the Honorable Constitutional Court that led to the consultation process, we denounce compliance by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, the Ministry of Energy and Mines, and the Supreme Court. Indigenous people, on the other hand, have very much complied with the consecrated standards of international instruments related to indigenous rights, the jurisdiction of the system of inter-American human rights, and observations by distinct organizations such as the United Nations.” - Excerpt from the Xinka Parliament’s statement
TAKE ACTION: Tell Pan American Silver to come to its senses!

The struggle for justice in the Maya Achí sexual violence case continues

On September 9, the First High Risk Appellate Court announced their decision to remove Judge Claudette Dominguez from the Maya Achí sexual violence case. The appellate judges argued that Dominguez may have a particular bias in the outcome of the case, as she is family to retired and active military personnel.

The recusal motions were presented in response to Judge Claudette Dominguez’s June 21 ruling that dismissed charges against three of the six ex-Civil Defense Patrollers (ex-PAC) accused of crimes against humanity and sexual violence against 36 Maya Achí women in Rabinal, Alta Verapaz, between 1981 and 1985. This decision was highly criticized, as the judge disregarded more than 200 pieces of evidence, including military documents, eyewitness accounts, expert witness testimonies, and most importantly, the words of the survivors themselves.

The case was transferred to Judge Miguel Ángel Gálvez, who survivors hope will determine the evidence to be sufficient and thus return the accused to pretrial detention while the judicial process continues.

In June, NISGUA staff and future accompaniers joined the solidarity action with Achí women. The sign reads “!Sí hubo genocidio y violencia sexual en el Rabinal!” (Yes, genocide and sexual violence happened in Rabinal!).”

Join our dedicated group of sustaining donors!

Starting TODAY, we are launching a monthly donor drive! Will you be one of twenty new sustaining donors to receive a Rise Up NISGUA tote bag? From today until October 4th, be one of the first twenty people to become a monthly donor at any amount, and this beautiful bag, designed and printed by local Bay Area artists, is yours! 

“I make a sustaining monthly gift because having predictable, consistent income allows NISGUA to think bigger and more creatively about how to best support Guatemalan partners. NISGUA commits to being in solidarity for the long haul, and being a sustainer is how I commit to supporting their work for the long haul, too.”
-Jillian (she/her), Current NISGUA board member & sustaining donor since July 2018

Join Jillian and become a sustaining donor today!

Share your skills and ideas with NISGUA

Looking for a way to get more involved in NISGUA’s work? Are you a data-master, interpreter, or a lover of community organizing? Fill out this survey and let us know what amazing skills you can bring to this community! All are welcome.
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For nearly four decades, NISGUA has supported Guatemalans resisting U.S. imperialism, militarization, and extractivism, the same forces that often drive people from their homes. Please donate today to support our continued accompaniment, advocacy, and political education.
In solidarity,
Sarasuadi Ochoa
Guatemala Accompaniment Coordinator
With the entire NISGUA team: Bridget, Claire and Meredith
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