Jovita Tzul Tzul Bufete de Pueblos Indigenas Indigenous Peoples’ Legal Clinic
On 25 February 2019, Jovita Tzul, a lawyer of Bufete de Pueblos Indigenas, was stopped by police in Santa Eulalia, Guatemala. The police tried to arrest her arbitrarily outside a municipal office where she was checking official records against human rights defenders. Her colleague, Juan Castro, came to her aid and the police could not arrest her as they could not show an arrest warrant with Jovita's name. Ms. Tzul has spent her life working to defend and promote the rights of indigenous communities and a plurinational state. As co-litigator for the Indigenous Peoples’ Legal Clinic, she represents people and communities that face serious threats of to their lives and livelihoods due to the imposition of extractive projects in their territory. She also works closely with plurinational feminist organization Tzununija and the Human Rights Legal Clinic. Jovita’s areas of expertise are criminalization/malicious prosecution, land, territory, rights of indigenous women and forced displacement of indigenous communities, among others. In addition to litigating, Jovita has taught courses and presented at numerous forums nationally and internationally. Jovita has worked as part of the strategic litigation team on such emblematic cases as those of indigenous rights defenders Abelino Chub Caal, Maria Choc and indigenous communities affected by the imposition of hydroelectric companies.