Thank you to all of our partners and supporters who helped GHRC grow and evolve throughout 2012.

During 2012, the first year of President Otto Pérez Molina, human rights and civil liberties were violated time and again in Guatemala. Yet our partners, through their dedication and bravery, have shown that civil society can and will respond to these challenges.

GHRC, too has expanded and evolved to meet this frightening new context. After extensive consultations with our supporters and our partners during the first few months of the 2012, we crafted a strategic plan which will guide our work for the next three years. The plan defines the strategies GHRC will utilize to support human rights in Guatemala, and the thematic areas in which we will focus our analysis and our work. We set ambitious goals to meet the new challenges.

You can read our Annual Report, including our Strategic Plan and Accomplishments, here

In November, we had the pleasure of welcoming our newest staff member, Dania Rodriguez, to our Guatemala office. GHRC now has four full-time staff, however our team is really much larger than that. We rely on dedicated volunteers, interns, board members, and our network of supporters to broaden our impact. When we talk about the accomplishments of GHRC, they are successes we have achieved together.

Highlights of our achievements in 2012:
    Scholarship recipients and their family
  • In January we provided scholarships to 18 children of human rights defenders who have been attacked or killed for their work to enable them to continue their education.
  • In Februrary we coordinated and spoke at a US congressional briefing with US partners on concerns about militarization and threats to justicein Guatemala. We also created an online action to email US Members of Congress, asking them to maintain the ban on US funding to the Guatemalan army. Our supporters sent 2,111 emails and the ban will remain in place for the year.
  • In March we delivered over 2,200 petition signatures to the Guatemalan government requesting food aid and other support for the 800 indigenous families evicted in the Polochic Valley. As a result of this petition as well as GHRC’s ongoing support with their case before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the families received six deliveries of food and have been promised land.
  • In August we led a delegation entitled Women in Resistance: Our Bodies, Our Land and Mother Earth meeting with 18 women’s and land rights organizations. On returning to the US, the delegates collected books and arts supplies for organizations they had met with, posted blogs and published articles about their experience to raise awareness, and used their new knowledge to better serve their Guatemalan clients in the US.
  • In November and December, we coordinated a successful email and call campaign targeting the mining company Kappes, Cassiday & Associates, as well as the Guatemalan Government, calling for an end to attacks on the communities in resistance in San José del Golfo. We accompanied the emails with direct talks with the US Embassy in Guatemala to advocate for dialogue and the full respect of the communities’ right to protest. A tense calm has been maintained since then.
  • Throughout the year, GHRC provided affidavits in 10 cases of Guatemalans applying for asylum and testified in three more. At least two applicants received asylum based on domestic violence they had suffered in Guatemala and were allowed to remain in the US. The other cases have been postponed.

You can read a more comprehensive list of our accomplishments in 2012 here.