UN human rights experts expressed concern [press release] Thursday about the increase in attacks against human rights defenders in Guatemala.
The experts reported that 11 human rights defenders in Guatemala were killed between May 9 and July 27, 2018. The killings were “of an unusually violent nature—four suffered fatal cuts by bladed weapons, including cuts to their ears and throat.”
The experts are concerned that attacks of this nature will discourage other people from defending human rights. They are also concerned about “the broader environment of stigmatization of human rights defenders” in Guatemala, reporting that human rights defenders are often subject to actions where they do not receive their due process rights.
The experts urged Guatemalan authorities to investigate the attacks and to bring those responsible to justice. They also insisted that Guatemalan authorities “recognize the important work of human rights defenders, which is an essential factor for their protection, and call upon the State to prevent harm against them and refrain from measures that restrict their work.”