Support La Puya: Sign onto a solidarity letter to support and congratulate the activists at La Puya on the 4th Year Anniversary of their struggle.
The residents of La Puya affected by the mining project have been peacefully protesting at the entrance of the El Tambor mine since 2012, and have been the victims of intimidation and abuse, including an assassination attempt against Yolanda Oquelí in June 2012. Others have faced trumped-up criminal charges filed by individuals associated with the company. In May 2014, after two years of peaceful struggle, the communities in resistance of La Puya were violently evicted from the entrance to the mine. However, community members continue to oppose the project and on May 2, 2016, celebrate four years of constant presence at the entrance to the mine. The celebration comes just after the Guatemalan Supreme Court upheld the ruling to suspend KCA’s mining licence at the El Tambor mine.
Over the course of one week, environmental activist Rigoberto Lima Choc was murdered and three others kidnapped in northern Guatemala for denouncing environmental contamination allegedly caused by African Palm company Reforestadora de Palma de Petén (REPSA).
On September 18, Rigoberto Lima Choc — a 28-year-old schoolteacher and indigenous activist — was shot outside of a local courthouse in Sayaxché by two men on a motorcycle. His murder occurred just one day after a court ordered REPSA to suspend its operations for six months in order to investigate the company’s role in the contamination of the Pasión River. Lima had been one of the first to take videos and report the deaths of fish in the polluted water.
On that same day, three human rights activists — Lorenzo Pérez, Hermelindo Asij and Manuel Pérez Ordóñez — were kidnapped by unknown assailants. They were held for almost 12 hours, threatened with being burned alive, and finally released the following day. During this time, local police did not respond to residents’ calls for help; representatives from the Human Rights Ombudsman’s office only responded directly several hour later, due to concerns about the personal safety of their staff.
GHRC is supporting community demands for an immediate investigation into these violent incidents and the adoption of measures to ensure the protection of human rights defenders in the region. With the help of our partners, ActionAid USA and Friends of the Earth, our petition — with nearly 50,000 signers — was delivered to Guatemala’s Attorney General Thelma Aldana on Nov. 30, 2015.