GHRC responds to threats and attacks against human rights defenders, providing direct support, advocacy and solidarity.

gathering of human rights defenders

Eighteen years after the signing of the Peace Accords, human rights violations in Guatemala have once again reached wartime levels. In the face of rampant impunity for past and present crimes, organized crime, corruption, and government complicity with ongoing abuses, human rights activists and community leaders risk their lives to promote and defend the rights of Guatemalans.

Every year there are hundreds of documented threats and attacks against defenders across the country, including indigenous leaders, community organizers, environmentalists, justice officials, journalists, union representatives, women’s rights advocates, and faith leaders. Many have also been killed.

GHRC denounces attacks through letters, urgent actions, petitions, and direct advocacy; urges thorough investigation of crimes committed; and advocates for timely and just prosecution of the perpetrators. GHRC educates US lawmakers, academics, students, parishioners, and grassroots activists about Guatemala’s human rights defenders and the challenges they face, building international solidarity and advocating for a US policy in the region that prioritizes human rights.  .


Human Rights Defenders Fund

GHRC’s Human Rights Defenders Fund provides emergency support for HRDs in Guatemala who have been threatened or attacked and need to relocate or take other steps to improve their security. The fund can provide funds for the defender (and his/her family) to cover: transportation or relocation costs, temporary housing, food, medical expenses, legal costs or other associated expenses, among others. Children of defenders who have been assassinated, or who remain under constant threat, are also eligible to receive education support funds that support the family’s ability to continue their children’s education during times of extreme emotional and financial hardship.

For more information about our Human Rights Defenders Fund, email us at ghrc-usa@ghrc-usa.org.


The Alice Zachmann Human Rights Defenders Award

The Alice Zachmann Human Rights Defender’s Award recognizes an individual, organization or community who has demonstrated dedication to the defense of human rights through non-violent methods, and for which s/he has been exposed to threats, violence or other attacks. The award serves as a means to strengthen the recipient’s work by highlighting it in the international community and represents a commitment by GHRC to provide ongoing support.

Learn more about the award >