Guatemalan human rights activists and indigenous people met in Washington, D.C., yesterday to reject accusations against them of terrorism and criminal protests by Otto Pérez Molina’s administration. Two groups presented their case before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) at the Organization of American States (OAS).
Five indigenous representatives described their struggle against recent and continuous armed conflict and human rights violations by the Guatemalan government. They included the Comunidad Kaqchikeles de San Juan Sacatepéquez, Comisión de Derechos Humanos de Guatemala, Unidad de Defensores de Derechos Humanos, and others.
Attempts to protest social issues have been met with violence and up to 16-17 deaths daily, says Daniel Pascual, one of the five representatives. They argued that the conflict stemmed from the expansion of private mining activity, backed by the Guatemalan government, impeding the indigenous people and their way of life.