Guatemala: Communities present report of attacks against human rights defenders opposing hydroelectric projects before Inter-American Commission
A coalition of communities and organizations denounced human rights violations against traditional and indigenous communities in Guatemala, at a hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Because of their opposition to large hydroelectric projects, the human rights defenders have been threatened, assaulted, treated as criminals, and assassinated...A report filed before the Commission, featuring 10 different cases, notes that various communities confronting these projects have faced rights abuses including violations of their rights to free, prior, informed, and culturally appropriate consultation; self-determination; due process; and life...The report also outlines how those who defend affected people and communities have been victims of threats and aggressions. The most common attacks include arrest warrants (103), assaults resulting in injuries (56), imprisonment (36), detention (25), criminalization (16), and threats (15). There have been 11 documented murders and three conflict-related deaths in communities that oppose these hydroelectric projects...At least 19 companies are linked to hydroelectric projects in Guatemala, of which 55 percent are national, 40 percent are transnational, and five percent are State-owned.