Death threats against Guatemalan human rights defender

Who we wrote to

Enrique Antonio Degenhart Asturias, the Guatemalan minister of interior and home affairs.

What’s the issue

We’re deeply concerned by the ongoing and increasing death threats made against Domingo Vázquez, an indigenous leader and human rights defender in Guatemala.

The death threats relate to his opposition against large infrastructure and hydroelectric projects that are planned to be carried out in the ancestral land of his community in the Jocotán municipality in Guatemala.

Mr Vázquez is a member of the New Day Ch’orti Campesino Central Coordinator (CCCND), an organisation that supports the rights of indigenous Mayan Ch’orti people.

The threats to Mr Vázquez and other members of the community are increasing and are of a very serious nature.

What we asked for

We respectfully urged the relevant Guatemalan authorities to:

  • guarantee the right to life and physical integrity of Mr Vázquez by providing adequate protection measures, in consultation with him
  • guarantee the right to life and physical integrity of other members of CCCND, those integrating the camps in La Prensa and El Carrizal, and other members of the indigenous communities who live in the area, by providing adequate protection measures, in consultation with them or their legitimate authorities
  • bring the perpetrators of the security incidents committed against Mr Vázquez and other members of the community to justice in proceedings that respect international fair trial standards
  • comply with Guatemala’s international legal obligations and guarantee that Mr Vázquez, other CCCND members and human rights defenders can carry out their legitimate activities without harassment and improper interference