Maya

Killings Of Guatemala's Indigenous Activists Raise Specter Of Human Rights Crisis

For three days last week, thousands of Guatemalans blocked roads and major highways to protest the Central American country's slide toward a constitutional crisis. The protest organizers included groups that have long demanded justice: indigenous communities and campesinos, as rural and farm workers are called.

Indigenous citizens, many dressed in colorful traditional clothing, came out partly to protest the Guatemalan president's recent expulsion of a United Nations-backed commission investigating corruption in the country. Since 2007, the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala, known by its Spanish initials CICIG and funded by the U.N., the United States and the European Union, has worked with Guatemalan justice agencies to target corrupt officials.

In the highly unequal society that is Guatemala, many Maya believe any strengthening of the justice system will protect indigenous rights granted under the country's constitution and peace accords.

The country's indigenous people therefore have a strong motivation to lobby for the rule of law. Maya communities bore the brunt of almost four decades of a civil war that ended in 1996, leaving over 200,000 casualties, the majority indigenous Guatemalans, according to the United Nations. Now the mostly Maya organizations and many human rights groups worry that the violence is making a comeback: In just the last year, 26 members of mostly indigenous campesino organizations have been killed.

Read full article here: https://www.kunc.org/post/killings-guatemalas-indigenous-activists-raise-specter-human-rights-crisis#stream/0

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