Stop Violence Against Opponents of Canadian-owned Mine
Carmen Mejía works courageously to defend the human rights of marginalized Mayan communities in Guatemala. Her life is at risk because she has dared to speak out about a controversial gold mine and the impacts that local people have denounced.
The Marlin Mine is operated by a subsidiary of Canadian mining company Goldcorp. In June, Carmen spoke about the mine at a public meeting attended by a top UN official. Before and after the meeting, Carmen received messages that said, "You shouldn't defend human rights, or you'll be killed."
Three weeks later, someone came looking for Deodora Hernandez, and shot her in the eye at close range. Deodora too has taken part in public protests about mining and spoken out about fears that community water supplies are at risk. She was seriously wounded, but survived.
The attempt on Deodora's life underscores how seriously we must take the threats made against Carmen Mejía.
Urge Guatemalan and Canadian authorities to help protect Carmen Mejía and others standing up for human rights.
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Dear [Decision Makers],
Protect peaceful community activists at risk of violence', 'I am writing to you to express my concern for the safety of community activists in San Miguel Ixtahuacan who have suffered violence and are at risk of further abuses resulting from their opposition to mining operations.
I call on you to urge the authorities to:
* ensure an independent, thorough and impartial investigation into the shooting of Deodora Hernandez and the threats against Carmen Mejía, with the results made public and those responsible brought to justice;
* take immediate steps to provide appropriate protection to members of the 18 Mayan communities who were granted protective measures by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and to activists working on alleged human rights violations as a result of mining operations in the area;
* urgently establish a local office of the Presidential Commission on Human Rights in the municipality of San Miguel Ixtahuacan, which works to resolve conflicts and promote respect for human rights.