Solidarity Update: May 2019
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Xinka Parliament Condemns Pan American’s Interference in Consultation Process

On May 8, hundreds of members of the Peaceful Resistance of Santa Rosa, Jalapa, and Jutiapa gathered at the resistance encampment in Casillas for a press conference organized by the Xinka Parliament. Women, men, elders, and children stood together in the rain to hear the Xinka Parliament’s public statement denouncing Pan American Silver’s continued efforts to interfere in the consultation process.

Meanwhile, thousands of miles away, activists gathered in Vancouver, Canada, where Pan American Silver held their first shareholder meeting since acquiring Tahoe Resources, the previous owner of the Escobal silver mining project, in February 2019. Angus Wong, Campaign Manager at SumOfUs, attended the Vancouver meeting to ask if “Pan American Silver will commit to respect Xinka People’s right to freely participate in the consultation process" without further attempts at corrupting the process. In his response, Pan American Silver's CEO Michael Steinmann did not commit to respecting the consultation process.

The next day, during the company's first quarter conference call, further discussion of Pan American tampering in the consultation process was shut down, when Kirsten Francescone from Mining Watch Canada was not permitted to ask a question. Instead, the meeting was abruptly adjourned, in an attempt to quell public accountability on Pan American's practices. Read the full story on NISGUA's blog.


For months, as Pan American has tampered with consultation processes, Xinka Parliament lawyer Quelvin Jiménez has been targeted with death threats, defamation, intimidation, and surveillance. In March, the Xinka Parliament published a press release denouncing death threats against Quelvin: “We fear for the security of attorney Quelvin Jiménez Villalta who was the victim of phone threats, and for all the Xinka authorities and leaders that are participating in the consultation process. We hold the State of Guatemala and Minera San Rafael directly responsible for our security and physical integrity.” Two weeks later, NISGUA was one of 12 organizations to sign on to a letter calling on Guatemalan authorities to ensure that the consultation process take place free of coercion, intimidation, and threats.

Amnesty International has organized a campaign in support of Quelvin Jiménez, calling on the Guatemalan Public Prosecutor’s office to investigate the attacks against Jiménez and to provide for his protection.

Join Amnesty International's campaign to stand with Quelvin Jiménez

Maya Achí Women Share their Struggle for Justice

Survivor Paulina Ixpata Alvarado and lawyer Gloria Pérez speak about Maya Achi women's experiences working for justice.

Three and a half decades after surviving sexual violence committed by the Guatemalan military, a collective of 36 Maya Achi women are engaged in a historic struggle to achieve justice. Between 1981 and 1985, the women were subjected to a campaign of repeated violence, carried out by civil defense patrollers, soldiers, and military commissioners in the Rabinal region, and designed by the country's military high command.

In 2011 and 2012, the women broke their silence, filing charges for sexual violence and other crimes against humanity. Their case, currently in the intermediary phase with an upcoming trial date on June 6, would be one of the first in Guatemalan history to litigate the military's systematic use of sexual violence as a tool of war, building on recent victories in the Sepur Zarco and Molina Theissen sentences

The current trial prosecutes six men for their direct crimes against eight of the women. Nonetheless, the women emphasize that they are bringing the case as a collective and will continue to seek justice against all of the material and intellectual authors.

This month, NISGUA and the Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network organized webinars in Rabinal, giving people in the U.S., Canada, and Guatemala the opportunity to hear directly from two women involved -- Paulina Alvarado (survivor and witness in the case and president of the Rabinal Legal Clinic) and Gloria Pérez (Rabinal Legal Clinic lawyer). Ixpata and Pérez spoke about how the fight for justice has contributed to healing. They discussed the connections between past racialized violence against women and girls and ongoing sexual violence in today's world, naming that the case would set an important precedent of showing that perpetrators of sexual crimes will be held accountable.  

“[These sentences] motivate women to report the crimes that occurred against them during the Internal Armed Conflict. It sets the precedent that violence against women will be punished… More than anything we hope that these sentences will ensure that the same violence against women is never repeated.”

Gloria Pérez, Maya Achi lawyer at the Rabinal Legal Clinic

As the women construct a path towards justice and healing, stand with them by:

  • Watching and sharing the webinars: Ixpata and Pérez emphasized the importance of the international community learning more about their historical struggle. Watch the webinar in Spanish or English and share it with your network.
  • Showing solidarity with the women: Take a selfie with the message, “Si hubo genocidio y violencia sexual en Rabinal,” or “Justice for Achi Women,” or with a message of your own. Share it by email to martha@nisgua.org to make sure that the women see the worldwide support and solidarity with their work for justice.

Help us meet our May fundraising goal!

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NISGUA's nearly four decades of international solidarity work is powered by individual donations from thousands in our network. From now until May 31, you have the opportunity to double the impact of your donations! Your generous contribution -- matched dollar for dollar -- allows us to answer our partners' calls for ongoing international accompaniment, advocacy, and exchange, as we collectively build justice across borders.
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