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News Release

Letter with over 65 signatures of Guatemalan and International Organizations delivered to Attorney General Demanding Protective Measures Be Upheld for Xinca Lawyer and Communities Opposing Escobal Mine

Source: 
Earthworks – Institute for Policy Studies – Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network – MiningWatch Canada – NISGUA

On July 3, 2019,the coordinator of the Maritimes - Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network delivered a letter signed by sixty-seven International and Guatemalan organizations to the Attorney General of the Guatemalan Public Ministry. In the letter, organizations expressed their solidarity and demanded that protective measures be guaranteed for Xinca lawyer Quelvin Jimenez as well as communities involved in the peaceful resistance against the Escobal mine.

Escobal, currently suspended, was recently purchased by Canadian mining company Pan American Silver. 

Their letter reads: 

June 25, 2019

Ms. María Consuelo Porras Argueta, Attorney General, Guatemalan Public Prosecutor’s Office

CC: Mr. Jordán Rodas Andrade, Guatemalan Human Rights Ombudsman; Carlos Tohom Escobar, Director, National Civil Police; Enrique Degenhart, Minister of the Interior

Dear Ms. Porras Argueta,

The below signed national and international organizations write to you today out of great concern regarding recent incidents of violence and intimidation against the Xinka Parlaiment’s lawyer, Quelvin Jiménez, representatives of the Xinka Parliament, Xinka authorities, and members of communities in peaceful resistance to the Escobal mining project. We call on you to enforce the security measures granted to Mr. Jiménez and to protect community members and Indigenous authorities in peaceful resistance to the Escobal mine in Santa Rosa, Jalapa and Jutiapa.

On Sunday morning, Quelvin Jiménez, was arbitrarily detained by the Guatemalan National Civil Police (PNC) after leaving a community assembly in his hometown of Jumaytepeque. In response, local community members, national and international human rights organizations questioned police about the motive for Mr. Jiménez’ detention and expressed their concern for his safety and freedom. In reply, the police repeatedly stated that Mr. Jiménez was not being detained. Roughly five hours later, he was released without charge.

At 9pm the following evening, Mr. Jiménez reported that a pick-up truck was circling his home. Given that Mr. Jiménez has been granted security measures by Guatemala’s public prosecutor for his home and office due to previous threats and acts of intimidation, Mr. Jiménez called the police station in Nueva Santa Rosa who stated that they were unaware of the security measures in place and could not respond because they did not have a vehicle. About 40 minutes later, the pick-up truck left. Roughly 20 minutes after that, the PNC arrived. Even after Mr. Jiménez provided them with the license and registration information for the pick-up, the police failed to act.

The security measures in place to protect Mr. Jiménez from escalating threats of criminalization and violence are not being adequately enforced. Meanwhile, acts of intimidation, as demonstrated by his arbitrary detention on Sunday and the incident on Monday night, are increasing in frequency. Such incidents are particularly concerning given that they are taking place in the context of the court-ordered consultation with Xinka communities, including Jumaytepeque.

Other members of the peaceful resistance to Pan American Silver’s Escobal mine and Xinka authorities are similarly at increasing risk of violence and intimidation, as they demand respect for their rights during the consultation process. In this context, the integrity of the process is also at risk given that consultation cannot be ‘free’ if people are being intimidated or are under threat of violence or imprisonment.

We demand you to take immediate action to protect the safety, integrity and liberty of Mr. Quelvin Jiménez, members of the Xinka Parliament and the Principle Authorities of the Xinka community of San Francisco Jumaytepeque, and members of the Peaceful Resistance of Santa Rosa, Jalapa and Jutiapa who are suffering threats, acts of intimidation and criminalization for defending their rights during the consultation process. The state must take immediate action to ensure community members are able to participate in the consultation without threats, aggressions or human rights abuses.

  • Immediately fulfil the security measures granted to Mr. Quelvin Otoniel Jiménez on May 14, 2019.
  • Ensure the safety and integrity of the Principle Xinka Authorities of San Francisco Jumaytepeque, all members of the Board of Directors of the Xinka Parliament and Xinka Peoples in Santa Rosa, Jalapa and Jutiapa;
  • Ensure the safety and integrity of all members of the Peaceful Resistance of Santa Rosa, Jalapa and Jutiapa;
  • Fully and objectively investigate the events of June 23rd as requested in the June 25th letter from the Xinka Parliament to the Public Prosecutors Santa Rosa District office, in which the Parliament sets out the chain of events, and provides supporting video evidence.

Sincerely, 

  • ACODET
  • Asamblea Departamental de Huehuetenango ADH 
  • AID/WATCH 
  • Amnesty International 
  • Asociación Ambiental Petón do Lobo 
  • Asociación Galega Cova Crea 
  • Asociación para la Promoción y el Desarrollo de la Comunidad CEIBA 
  • Asociación Q'anil 
  • BC CASA/Café Justicia 
  • CAREA 
  • Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) 
  • Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America 
  • Colectivo Tajtolmej Taltipa A.C. 
  • Collectif Causse Méjean - Gaz de Schiste NON ! 
  • Common Frontiers 
  • Consejo del Pueblo Maya CPO 
  • Consejo Maya Mam saq Tx'otx'
  • Consejo Wuhxtaj 
  • ContraMINAcción (Galicia)
  • Denver Justice and Peace Committee 
  • EarthNexus 
  • Earthworks 
  • Estonian Forest Aid 
  • Frente de Defensa Ambiental de Cajamarca 
  • Frente Nacional por la Salud de los Pueblos - Azuay 
  • Front Line Defenders 
  • Geocomunes 
  • Grupo Belga 'Solidair met Guatemala' 
  • Guatemala Human Rights Commission (GHRC) 
  • Guatemala Partnership Committee, Congregational Church of Needham 
  • Guatemala Research Group, University of Northern BC 
  • Guatemala Solidarity Network (GSN) 
  • H.I.J.O.S. Guatemala 
  • Institute for Policy Studies - Global Economy Program 
  • Kickapoo-Guatemala Accompaniment Project 
  • London Mining Network 
  • Maritimes- Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network
  • Mining Injustice Solidarity Network (MISN) 
  • Mining Justice Alliance 
  • MiningWatch Canada 
  • Movimiento Ecologista de Mujeres del Sur 
  • Movimiento Mesoamericano contra el Modelo extractivo Minero -M4- 
  • Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA) 
  • Oberlin Students in Solidarity with Guatemala 
  • Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros de Zacatecas 
  • Otros Mundos AC/Chiapas 
  • OXFAM 
  • Peace Watch Switzerland 
  • PIAP, AC 
  • Plataforma Internacional contra la Impunidad 
  • Projet Accompagnement Québec-Guatemala 
  • Protection International Mesoamérica 
  • Red Mexicana de Afectadas y Afectados por la Minería (REMA) 
  • Red Nacional por la Defensa de la Soberanía Alimentaria en Guatemala -REDSAG-
  • REDAGUA
  • Resistencia Pacífica La Puya 
  • Revista electrónica Memorial de Guatemala 
  • Salva la Selva 
  • SHARE Foundation 
  • Skylight Pictures and Engagement 
  • SOA Watch-LA 
  • Society of Friends 
  • Solidaridad con Guatemala de Austria 
  • SweFOR 
  • Unifor 
  • United Steelworkers 
  • YLNM Network