Overcoming the obstacles, Human rights activists in Guatemala and Honduras
Published on Amnesty International/Campaigns, 8 August 2007 – AMR 02/003/2007 – WA 17/07.
Reports of killings, death threats, harassment and intimidation of human rights activists continue to be commonplace in Guatemala and Honduras.
Many defenders of human rights are subjected to unfounded investigations and malicious prosecutions. Their offices and homes are placed under surveillance, while at the same time important human rights information and documents are stolen to obstruct their human rights work.
In some cases, grave violations result in activists having to stop, or radically curtail, their human rights activities. Direct attacks or threats to their lives sometimes mean that they are forced to flee their homes or even countries.
Guatemalan activist, Carlos Albacete Rosales, speaks about obstacles and international support Grass-roots defenders working on economic, social and cultural rights in remote areas face special challenges as their work is less visible. An atmosphere of impunity sometimes makes it impossible to continue human rights work without risking their lives and the lives of loved ones.
Most of those who commit violations against human rights defenders evade justice, and investigations into abuses against activists are grossly inadequate. Such violations also have wider repercussions — they create a climate of fear.
Human rights activists often feel privileged to do their work, despite suffering intimidation and impingements on their liberty. They fight injustice and make a positive change in society. Their work and achievements have an impact on human rights worldwide.
Governments have obligations to take action against those who hamper or threaten the work of human rights defenders. No one should have to live or work like this.
A day in the life of a human rights activist in Guatemala or Honduras — imagine what that means … (full text).