27 de julio de 2016

Reporte 1 - Guatemala

Freedom of association:

Guatemala’s Constitution protects freedom of association. Nevertheless, consulted actors of civil society reported that this freedom has been recently threatened specially on the country side for those organisations who work for environmental topics. On July, 2015, Freedom House reported that shots were fired outside the offices of a CSO who had been conducting investigations against a mining company.

On March 16th, 2016, Mauro Vay, leader of Comité de Desarrollo Campesino, a farmers’ organisation, was sentenced to three years in jail after allegedly promoting illegal power connections in his community. Vay’s lawyer reported that this sentence happened because of his client activities promoting the nationalization of the power company.

On June 8th, Diego Choc Pop, a representative of Comité Campesino del Altiplano, was murdered. His murder came after a series of threats he received for his work on trying to protect peasants’ land rights.

The Worldwide Human Rights Movement requested Guatemala’s authorities to investigate the murders of Diego Choc Pop and other land rights activists like Walter Manfredo Mendez, Rigoberto Lima Choc, and Sebastián Córdova who were killed between 3 to 9 months before Diego Choc.

Freedom of peaceful assembly:
During the last year, transparency has been the main point of protests in Guatemala following former president Otto Perez Molina corruption scandal.

Consulted actors of civil society assured that protests conducted in Guatemala City had no inconvenient and police forces successfully protected the protests. Protests were even supported by the private sector with companies like Domino’s, Mc Donald’s, and Dunking Doughnuts.

The most recent national protest on the country side took place on May 11th. Farmers, who were demanding land and nationalization of natural resources, blocked 29 main roads in the country. Repression was not reported.

Freedom of expression:
There are important restrictions for freedom of expression in Guatemala. On the free press report 2016, Reporters Without Borders gave the country the second worst score (difficult situation). On this report, the country is placed 121 of 180 countries.

Freedom House Freedom of Press Report (2016) classified Guatemala’s press as partly free on a Free – Partly Free – Not Free scale.

During 2016, at least 7 journalists from local and independent media have been killed in Guatemala. On March 23rd, UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova, condemned the murder of Guatemalan journalist Mario Roberto Salazar.

On June 22nd, the World Organisation Against Torture warned about the situation that journalists are living in Guatemala. They condemned the murder of Victor Hugo Valdés and Diego Salomón Esteban Gaspar, so as the robbery of Angel Martin Tax’s house. The Organisation made a call to Guatemalan authorities to investigate these cases and to protect other journalists and actors of civil society whose lives might be threatened.

Civil Society: