Join us on November 3rd to celebrate 4 decades of work for human rights in Guatemala!
We began work on September 20, 1982, at the height of the armed conflict in Guatemala, with the urgent task of informing policymakers and the US public about the atrocities being committed in Guatemala with our tax dollars and our government’s consent and assistance.
Our work remains urgent. During the first 2.5 years of Alejandro Giammattei’s administration, attacks on human rights defenders exceed the number carried out during the 4-year period of any other government since the signing of the Peace Accords in 1996. Guatemala’s most prominent journalist has been jailed, at least 11 prosecutors of high-level corruption have fled into exile this year, and at least 6 journalists are in exile. Attacks on indigenous leaders and communities have escalated, and civic space is rapidly closing.
Our team in Guatemala accompanies defenders at risk, provides strategic legal advice, resettles defenders in imminent danger, conducts advocacy with local and federal officials, and works with other organizations to meet defenders’ emergency needs.
Guatemala is in a crisis like never before in peacetime. Guatemalans need our solidarity. Please join us in our efforts. With your help, we can meet the growing needs of those standing for truth and justice in Guatemala.
Every year we honor an individual, organization or community who has demonstrated a commitment to promoting respect for human rights, even when confronted by threats and violence. The award serves as a means to highlight the struggle of the recipient on an international level and aims to protect human rights defenders at risk of suffering acts of violence or other attacks. It is awarded in honor of Sister Alice Zachmann who founded GHRC in 1982, and directed the organization tirelessly over 20 years.
This November, we will honor the work and courage of:
The Ixil Authorities of Nebaj for their tireless work to support the Ixil people. Their work investigating local corruption, promoting the rights of Ixil communities, and defending their culture has not diminished in the face of growing vulnerability. With the breakdown of rule of law in Guatemala, marked by the co-option of institutions by corrupt forces, Indigenous organizations and communities are facing a danger not seen since the signing of the Peace Accords. Our award seeks to not only honor the brave work of a group in Guatemala, but also provide important visibility to groups at risk.
The Chicoyoguito Resistance from the Alta Verapaz region of Guatemala. The Chicoyogüito Neighborhood Association is made up of 250 families from the displaced community of Chicoyogüito in Cobán (Alta Verapaz), which in 1982 was wiped out by the army. The community was violently evicted to make room for Military Zone 21, known as CREOMPAZ, which was used for torture and extrajudicial killings during the internal armed conflict and holds the largest clandestine cemetery in the region. As a result of their participation as witnesses in the Creompaz case and their effort to reclaim their stolen land, survivors of the Chicoyogüito community and their families receive threats. Recently, 21 defenders are facing a process of criminalization by local authorities. Accused of “usurpation,” their case is emblematic of the use of the legal system in Guatemala to criminalize land defenders and those in the fight against corruption.
Support Our Work
For 40 years, GHRC has been committed to supporting the people of Guatemala as they struggle to defend their rights. Our 40th Anniversary Celebration is scheduled for November 3 at the Art Museum of the Americas in Washington, DC. Our founder, Sister Alice Zachmann, will be attending by Zoom. We would love for you to be part of that special evening.
We will also be honoring the Ixil Authorities and the Chicoyoguito Resistance as the recipients of this year’s Alice Zachmann Human Rights Defender Award. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from these incredibly brave defenders! Email veronicaserranotama@ghrc-usa.
If you can’t attend the event in person, you can still celebrate with us! You can attend the ceremony on Zoom, share the invitation with other people, and donate on our square site, paypal, or on our website. Please check our website and social media sites for updates on the celebration and ways to view it and support our work!