What is accompaniment?

NISGUA is one of many organizations worldwide using international accompaniment as a strategy to stand with activists in their struggle for social, racial, and environmental justice. Organizations, communities, and activists under threat request an international presence as a security measure to dissuade attacks and create a safer space for them to carry out their struggle for defense of life and territory and justice for crimes of the past.

How does accompaniment work?

In Guatemala, state, corporate, and parallel clandestine actors exert power through threats, criminalization, and violence. Accompaniers’ monitoring and reporting serve to dissuade violence and to alert the international community when violence does occur. Our nationwide network takes action, putting pressure on the Guatemalan and U.S. governments, transnational corporations, and other actors. This helps ensure that activists have the political space necessary to safely organize in defense of their rights.

Who do we accompany?

We provide accompaniment to organizations and individuals involved in legal cases for justice and accountability for crimes committed during the Guatemalan Internal Armed Conflict. This includes the Association for Justice and Reconciliation (AJR), our longest-standing partner. A courageous group of survivors, the AJR has pursued legal prosecution of genocide and crimes against humanity while focusing deeply on community healing and promoting historical memory outside of the courtroom. They, and many other organizations, strive to remember the crimes committed against them, under the conviction that historical memory and collective reckoning is an important first step in ensuring that those crimes never happen again.

Following the signing of the Peace Accords, international investment in large-scale mega-development projects, like mines and hydroelectric dams, increased. So, too, did attacks against Indigenous and campesino community leaders and organizations defending life and territory. Accompaniers also work with individuals and organizations under threat for defending their resources, communities, culture, and self-determination.

“The work is ours. It is our country and is for us to do. But you help open the space for us to do that work. Your presence is important.” - Genocide Case witness from the Ixcán
“The State and resource extraction companies attempt to criminalize us in order to weaken our organizing capacity. Accompaniment strengthens us as we organize in defense of our rights.” - Rubén Herrera, Departmental Assembly of Huehuetenango (ADH)