The months of June, July and August 2019 have been particularly critical for human rights defenders in Guatemala. In the first six months of the year, UDEFEGUA has registered that 12 human rights defenders have been murdered. In addition, at least 361 attacks and 259 acts of criminalization against human rights defenders have been recorded. Before this alarming deterioration in the spaces where defenders carry out their work, PBI Guatemala keeps accompanying human rights defenders under threat and works to maintain the already shrunk space available in the country for the legitimate defense of human rights. With the support of ProtectDefenders.eu, PBI Guatemala has carried out different activities to address the critical situation in the country:
- In June and August 2019, PBI Guatemala organized three security workshops with human rights defenders from the Comite Campesino del Altiplano (CCDA) – Region Las Verapaces and from La Resistencia Pacífica de Cahabon in Cobán, Alta Verapaz department. Two of the workshops were specifically dedicated to improve protection and security practices of the participants in a context of growing criminalization. The other workshop was dedicated to women human rights defenders at risk. It had as a main focus to strengthen the capacities of women human rights defenders on emotional, spiritual and physical healing, as this an essential tool for their integral protection to fight the risks in their human rights defense.
- In June 2019, PBI Guatemala organized the 17th Meeting of Women Human Rights Defenders of the Territory – Body – Land in Coban, Alta Verapaz department. This space was facilitated by Tz’K’at, Red de Sanadoras Ancestrales del Feminismo Comunitario Territorial en Iximulew -Iximulew. Around 30 women from diverse organizations and social movements working in various departments of Guatemala, such as Peten, Alta and Baja Verapaz and Chiquimula attended this event where they strengthened their capacities on integral protection and security from the perspective of the physical, emotional and spiritual healing. Moreover, they built solidarity networks between them and they established mutual support alliances, which will be key for their security and protection.