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23 February 2010 2009 was the most violent year in the past decade for Guatemalan human rights defenders, with 15 defenders murdered; 2010 is proving to be even worse, with 17 attacks on defenders, among them 4 dead. The Guatemala Human Rights Commission respects and promotes the work of Guatemalan human rights defenders and their right to continue their work without threats, attacks, or assassination.

We condemn the murders and demand the immediate and thorough investigation of the crimes, and prosecution of those responsible. We insist on protection for the families and other threatened defenders in accordance with their wishes.

Evelinda Ramírez Reyes was attacked and killed while driving home to San Marcos from Guatemala City on the evening of January 13, 2010. Evelinda was a community leader and member of FRENA (Resistance in Defense of Natural Resources and People's Rights) and the CUC/Farmer's Union. She had just attended a series of meetings with government officials on public access to electricity; she and other FRENA members filed complaints about the excessive rates charged by service provider DEOCSA-Unión Fenosa and also advocated for the public management of electrical energy distribution. She leaves behind a four year old son.

German Antonio Curup was kidnapped with a colleague on February 11, 2010 by men waiting for them outside of the workplace. On February 14, his body appeared in Barcenas, 10 miles south of San Juan, with his throat slit and other signs of torture. German worked for the defense of land and natural resources. He was the son of Abelino Curup, community leader of San Juan Sacatepequez who was sentenced to 50 years in prison for a murder that he did not commit.

Octavio Roblero, member of FRENA, was shot with 17 bullets at 6pm on February 17, 2010 in front of his shop in the market in Malacatán, San Marcos. Octavio was the brother in law of Victor Galvez, also a FRENA leader who was killed in Malacatán in October 2009. Both leaders organized a movement against the abuses and illegal actions of the electric company DEOCSA-UNION FENOSA.

Juan Antonio Chen, Mayan lawyer, was shot dead in his car, by a man in a pickup truck, at 7pm on February 17 in Coban, Alta Verapaz. Chen worked with ODHAG (Human Rights Office of the Archdiocese of Guatemala and the National Reparations Program).



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See GHRC's fact sheet on Human Rights Defenders in Guatemala.













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