#WHRDAlert GUATEMALA / Gunmen threaten Aura Lolita Chávez and CPK

June 9, 2017

Aura Lolita Chávez Ixcaquic and members of the Council of Ki’che’ Peoples (CPK)

Defence of land and territory

Attacks suffered

FACTS – Aura Lolita Chávez Ixcaquic and members of the Council of Ki’che’ Peoples (CPK) suffered new attacks on June 7, 2017.

Lolita Chávez has long accompanied the original Ki’che’ (Quiché) peoples in their struggle to protect the forests around their communities and control illegal clear cutting.

In recent years, the CPK and defender Lolita Chavez have been subjected to criminalization and threats that not only implicate the security agencies of the government of Guatemala, but also the National Institute of Forests (INAB). By failing to comply with their obligations to protect the country’s national resources, INAB authorities make it easier for illegal loggers to operate in the area with total impunity.

On the morning of June 7th, CPK members identified a truck loaded with wood. The clear cutters were not authorized to cut down trees in the protected area, so CPK members decided to take control of the vehicle and turn it over to INAB authorities, making sure to preserve the integrity of the vehicle and its drivers.

Before they arrived at the offices, however, a group of armed men directly threatened them, causing Lolita and CPK members, including women and children, to flee in search of refuge.

We demand that the government of Guatemala immediately guarantee the safety and security of Lolita Chávez and the CPK members, and that it punish those who threatened members of the civil society with firearms.

Furthermore, it is essential that the INAB assume total responsibility for controlling the crime of illegal logging, in keeping with its responsibility and jurisdiction.