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  • Happening now: Public hearing in Plan Grande, El Estor, Izabal due to the threat of eviction of the Q'Eqchi' indige… https://t.co/ecLE2ICdeW
    about 5 days ago

Dianna Ortiz, OSU, died on February 19, 2021, at 62 years old.  She fought for the rights of all and fought bravely. We are proud and honored to have had her on staff and in our hearts at GHRC. Please visit her full memorial page on our site here

Dianna worked at the Guatemala Human Rights Commission from 1994 to 2002.  A survivor of torture in Guatemala, Dianna bravely pursued her case through the Guatemalan court system in the early 90s, to no avail, and bravely continued fighting for the rights of survivors of torture, founding the Torture Abolition and Survivor’s Support Coalition in 1998, as a project of GHRC. TASSC operated as a project of GHRC until it received its own 501(c)(3) status in 2002. In 1996 Dianna conducted a highly publicized vigil and hunger strike in front of the White House to request the declassification of all US government documents related to cases of human rights abuse in Guatemala since 1954. The State Department made a voluntary release of thousands of pages of Department made a voluntary release of thousands of pages of documents that illustrated US complicity with the Guatemalan government in its brutal and genocidal campaign against the Mayan indigenous and against armed insurgents, human rights defenders, and others working for change. 
 

Dianna first came to Washington to participate in GHRC’s 1992 conference against torture in Guatemala, giving the keynote speech. As a result of her work with an indigenous community, teaching Mayan children as a missionary in San Miguel Acatan, Dianna had been abducted and tortured by Guatemalan security forces in 1989. GHRC’s founding director, Sister Alice Zachmann, fought for Dianna’s release and was instrumental in connecting her with a torture treatment center in Chicago, the Marjorie Kovler Center. A couple of years later Dianna joined GHRC’s staff of three, advocating for the rights of the Guatemalan people and playing a pivotal role in supporting Jennifer Harbury’s efforts to learn the fate of her husband, Efrain Bamaca Velasquez, efforts that resulted in the disclosure of continued and close US collaboration with and funding of Guatemala’s military death squads.

 

Dianna was an example of strength, generosity of spirit, and courage. All who knew her were touched by her and all she touched was improved. We are blessed to have had her with us at GHRC and we know she will remain with us in spirit and with all who fight for human rights.

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