We work to protect an enabling environment for human rights defenders in Guatemala, including by fighting impunity on attacks that seek to silence them and dissuade them to continue their long struggle for truth and justice since the time of the internal armed conflict.
Our work also seeks to tackle another major human rights challenge in the country: the epidemic of femicide that makes Guatemala one of the world’s most dangerous places to be a woman, where several hundreds of women get killed simply because of their gender and where these crimes go unprosecuted 99% of the time. One victim of this wave of killings was Claudina Isabel Velásquez Paiz, a 19-year-old law student who was murdered in 2005. The Guatemalan government failed to properly investigate her death, and subsequent efforts by Claudina’s family to hold the state accountable for its misconduct were met with silence and contempt.
Together with the Guatemalan Association of Mayan Attorneys and Notaries, we won against the State of Guatemala in a landmark decision by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that raised the standard of due diligence obligation for States to protect women from violence.