Last Thursday, May 4th, the Unit for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders in Guatemala (Udefegua), the National Network of Women Human Rights Defenders in Guatemala, and IM-Defensoras, convoked a gathering of women human rights defenders in Guatemala. Our Co-Coordinators Orfe Castillo and Alejandra Burgos were present, and shared the work history and experience of IM-Defensoras for the comprehensive protection of women defenders with the Guatemalan comrades.
The following day, May 5th, members of the National Network of Women Human Rights Defenders in Guatemala announced their presecnce to the public at a press conference. This network, a member of IM-Defensoras, is a national grouping of Maya, mestiza, Garifuna, Afro-descendant, Xinca, lesbian and transgender women defenders, made up of different women’s, human rights and feminist organizations, collectives and individuals who defend human rights at the community, municipal, regional and national level.
At the press conference, the defenders denounced the rise in criminalization, persecution and prosecution of women defenders, as well as a higher number of arrest warrants for leaders defending the territory and Mother Earth. The Network condemned recent acts such as the State feminicide of 41 girls at the Virgin of the Assumption Safe Home, who had denounced being victims of sexual violence and other forms of violence there, and also condemned the homicide of Brenda Domínguez, who was run over by a vehicle along with a group of students engaged in a protest outside their school.
We, of IM-Defensoras, celebrate the public presentation of the Network and congratulate its members. We also extend our thanks to them for having facilitated a space like this National Gathering of Women Defenders, so important for strengthening and consolidating networks and making advances in comprehensive feminist protection strategies.