Guatemala: ILGA demands a stop to aggressions against human rights activists

SUMMARY

In the last few years harassment, violence, kidnapping, and murder have spread in Guatemala against organisations and individual activists who demand protection and equal rights for lgbt individuals in this country. The most recent of these is the case of Jorge López, President OASIS (Organisation of Support of an Integral Sexuality Against AIDS) ILGA member organisation, who was kidnapped and, fortunately, able to escape shortly afterwards.

ACTION

Guidelines to send this letter by e-mail:

  1. Copy only the content of the letter and paste it in a new mail message.
  2. In the letter top right hand side, write your name, city, country, and the date where it is indicated.
  3. In the letter bottom right hand side, write where indicated your full name, title, and occupation. If you represent an NGO or Network joining this ACTION ALERT, please include its name, address, and e-mail.
  4. Copy the following e-mail addresses of other concerned organisations and paste them in "CC" or "CON COPIA":
    opinion@elperiodico.com.gt; oasisgua@terra.com.gt; alianza@amigo.net.gt; movddhh@intelnet.net.gt
  5. Send the message

Once you have done all this, please send the letters or e-mails or, preferably to the fax numbers, since Guatemalan Government blocks its e-mail addresses to avoid international and national pressure such as this one.

Lic. Alfonso Portillo Cabrera
Presidente de la República de Guatemala
6ª Avenida "A" 4-41 Zona 1
Ciudad de Guatemala 01001 GUATEMALA
Fax + (502) 239-0090
E-mail: mensajes@presidenteportillo.gob.gt
Lic. Carlos David de León Argueta
Fiscal General de la República de Guatemala
8ª Avenida 10-57 Zona 1, 3er nivel
Ciudad de Guatemala 01001 GUATEMALA
Fax + (502) 221-2718
Lic. Adolfo Reyes Calderón
Ministro de Gobernación
6ª Avenida 4-64 Zona 4
Ciudad de Guatemala 01004 GUATEMALA
Fax + (502) 362-0239 / 362-0237
Comisario General Raúl Arquímides Manchamé Leiva
Director General de la Policía Nacional Civil
6ª Avenida 13-71 Zona 1
Ciudad de Guatemala 01001 GUATEMALA
Fax + (502) 2519382

The addresses "CC" belong to:

Medios de comunicación: El Periódico
15 Avenida 24-51, Zona 13
Ciudad de Guatemala 01013 GUATEMALA
Fax: +(502) 332-9761
E-mail: opinion@elperiodico.com.gt
OASIS
6ª Avenida 1-63 Zona 1
Ciudad de Guatemala 01001 GUATEMALA
Fax + (502) 232-1021 / 253-3453 / 220-1332 ext. 1
E-mail: oasisgua@terra.com.gt
Alianza contra la Impunidad
1ª Calle 0-11 Zona 2
Fax + (502) 232-2651
E-mail: alianza@amigo.net.gt
Movimiento Nacional de Derechos Humanos
9ª Avenida 1-36 Zona 1
Fax + (502) 238-4297
E-mail: movddhh@intelnet.net.gt

MODEL LETTER

OASIS, on behalf of Guatemalan lgbt organisations, has presented an action alert for the protection of sexual minorities in this country. The situation of continued violence and social prejudice is aggravated by the lack of Governmental action and investigation of the criminal offences occurring against these organisations.

The following letter is the English translation of OASIS' draft letter to the President of Guatemala. Those of you who want to join this protest, please follow the guidelines above (“Action” section), where there are also the names and addresses of the Guatemalan institutional contacts.

[City, Country, Date]

Mr Alfonso Portillo Cabrera. President of the Republic of Guatemala
Mr Cqrlos David de León Argueta, Carlos. Fiscal General
Mr Adolfo Calderón Reyes, Adolfo, Minister of Governing
General Commissioner Raúl Arquímedes Manchamé Leiva. General Commissioner of the National Police
Guatemala City, GUATEMALA

Dear Mr President Portillo Cabrera,

Mr Minister of Governing, Mr Fiscal General, Mr General Commissioner of the National Police:

On 13 May 2003, Mr Jorge López, President of the Organisation for the Support of an Integral Sexuality against AIDS (Orgaización de Apoyo a una Sexualidad Integral frente al SIDA - OASIS) was kidnapped by two men and locked up in a track. Fortunately, Mr Lopez managed to free himself and run away from the kidnappers; and currently he is safe. Another threat to our organisation and Mr López occurred on Friday 23 May, when Mr López and other members of OASIS were persued by five men driving a car who disappeared shortly afterwards.

Harassment against OASIS is probably linked to the organisation´s protest actions against police abuse of men, women and transvestite sex workers as well as against young and male homosexuals. In addition, these attacks may be as well linked to the recent murders of transvestites, the case of Maria Conchita (Luis Palencia) being the better known. These circumstances are the direct outcome of the State unwillingness and lack of initiative to prevent and penalise the stigmatisation, discrimination and violations of the human rights of homosexual individuals and sex workers.

Furthermore, these events add to the list of violent attacks in Guatemala such as the murder (November 2002 - March 2003) of nineteen young protesters against the modification of the penal code and who were supported by the organisation CALDH and the Institute of Comparative Studies and Penal Sciences. These dramatic circumstances were preceded by the continued harassment of and spying on members of other organisations, such as H.I.J.O.S. and Lesbiradas, and the employees of the CASA ALIANZA during the last few years.

On one hand, it appears that the reason for all these attacks are the actions of OASIS, as well as other human rights organisations in denouncing publicly the irregularities committed by the Guatemalan police department. On the other hand, the common mark of these attacks is that they are directed against those organisations that work for the protection of the rights of vulnerable communities such as youth, abandoned children, homosexual male and young, lesbians, women, transvestites and men sex workers.

We must remember that the Declaration of Human Rights recognises that all human beings have equal rights independently of their economic status, occupation, gender, or sexual orientation. One of the most fundamental rights is that of the protection given by the State which shall ensure the security of its citizens. For this reason, (name of your organisation) we are joining this action to support OASIS, and other Guatemalan organisations, and we demand:

  1. The investigation of the attacks against those individuals and organisations that work for the protection of human rights in Guatemala, and the identification and sanction of those who have committed them.
  2. The investigation - by the Oficina de Responsabilidad Profesional de la Policía Nacional Civil - of the existing criminal complaints presented against police officials from the individuals and organisations victims of the attacks and violence; we demand the opening of penal cases against the suspects.
  3. The guaranty of non-discrimination of Guatemalan citizens on the basis of health, sexual orientation, age or sexual practice. We demand the inclusion within the Guatemalan anti-discriminatory legislation acts against people with a diversity of sexual behaviour and sexual orientation.
  4. That the Government support the work of OASIS and of those organisations that work for the prevention of HIV/AIDS and the promotion and protection of the diversity of sexual behaviour and orientation by the creation of campaigns and programs aiming the removal of the stigmatisation and social discrimination of sexual diversity.
  5. To provide CICIACS (Commission of Investigation about Ilegal Corps and Clandestine Security Apparatus - Comisión de Investigación sobre Cuerpos Ilegales y Aparatos Clandestinos de Seguridad) with all working facilities for the investigation of any involvement of the Clandestine Security Apparatus in the attacks against Human Rights defenders.
  6. To proceed urgently to cut off any aggression or violence against defenders of the Human Rights of individuals with diverse sexual behaviour and orientations, and of sex workers.

Sincerely,

Name:
Surname:
Title, Occupation:
Organization or Network:
Address:
E-Mail:

ABOUT ILGA

ILGA - International Lesbian and Gay Association
Kolenmarkt, 81 * B-1000 Brussels * Belgium
Phone/Fax: +32-(0)2-502-24 71 * E-mail: ilga@ilga.org
World Wide Web site: http://www.ilga.org/

Since 1978

A federation of over 330 groups from about 80 countries fighting
for equal human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
We also have over 200 supportive associate and individual members.

Will you join us? Contact us for more information!

ABOUT IGLHRC

The mission of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) is to secure the full enjoyment of the human rights of all people and communities subject to discrimination or abuse on the basis of sexual orientation or expression, gender identity or expression, and/or HIV status. A US-based non-profit, non-governmental organization (NGO), IGLHRC effects this mission through advocacy, documentation, coalition building, public education, and technical assistance.

IGLHRC
1375 Sutter Street, Suite 222
San Francisco, CA 94109
USA
Telephone: +1-415-561-0633
Fax: +1-415-561-0619
Email: iglhrc@iglhrc.org
http://www.iglhrc.org


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