[WHRD Alert] GUATEMALA / Woman defender who was seeking justice for her daughter, one of the 56 girls victimized in the massacre at the Hogar Virgen de la Asunción, is found murdered.

María Elizabeth Ramírez

The right to truth, justice and reparations

THE FACTS – The lifeless body of defender María Elizabeth Ramírez was found on Sunday morning, February 21, on the banks of a black-water river in Los Pinos, Esquipulas. María Elizabeth was the mother of Wendy Vividor Ramírez, one of the girls killed on March 8, 2017 in the massacre at the Virgin of the Assumption Home . The defender’s body bore signs of violence and cruelty.  

Since the murder of her daughter, María Elizabeth, together with the other victims’ families, had never stopped seeking justice. She was plaintiff in a lawsuit spurring an ongoing judicial process against public functionaries allegedly responsible for the crimes of manslaughter, abuse of authority, breach of official duties, and child abuse.

It is important to note that María Elizabeth is the second mother of the 41 girls murdered in the Virgin of the Assumption Safe Home who died by means of violence. The first was  Gloria Pérez y Pérez, the mother of Iris Yodenis León Pérez; she was brutally killed on July 8, 2018, in  Sayaxché, Petén, along with her 13-year-old daughter, Nury León Pérez.

Furthermore, the assassination of María Elizabeth took place  just a few days before the fourth anniversary of the massacre on a day as important for the feminist movement and the rights of women as March 8th, and on the date when, every year since 2017, numerous acts of remembrance of the victims have been held with demands for justice. It should be recalled that in September of 2019,  the government took down the altar in memory of the  murdered girls that had been erected in the Plaza of the Constitution of  Guatemala City . That same year on the eve of March 8th, the headquarters of the Women’s Sector of the Political Alliance  was the target of breaking and entering and the theft of documentation and work equipment  following an act held to commemorate the massacre.

We of IM-Defensoras hereby express our consternation as well as our strongest repudiation and condemnation of the murder of María Elizabeth Ramírez: We demand that the Guatemalan government carry out an immediate, exhaustive investigation of the crime without discounting any line of inquiry, including that related to the work in search of justice performed by the defender for the last four years.  

Our warm embrace and solidarity goes out to her family and related persons, and to all the families, organizations and women human rights defenders seeking justice for the massacre at the Virgin of the Assumption Safe Home.  

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