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Yolanda Oquelí

Yolanda Oquelí

Frente Norte del Área Metropolitana – FRENAM

I am the mother of two small children and the hardest thing i have ever had to deal with is the trauma caused to my children by knowing that someone had tried to kill their mother.

Yolanda Oquelí is the leader of the Frente Norte del Área Metropolitana – FRENAM (Northern Front of the Metropolitan Area), a movement of community members who defend the land from the expansion of mining activities in San José del Golfo and San Pedro Ayampuc, in the Department of Guatemala.  On 13 June 2012 Yolanda was shot while she was driving back home, after attending a protest against a proposed open-pit gold mine. 

The human rights defender won the 'Order of Juan José Gerardi' in 2013 and participated in the Front Line Defenders Dublin Platform in the same year.

Since Otto Pérez Molina assumed the role of President in January 2012, cases of harassment and threats against HRDs have been on the rise. Human rights defenders (HRDs) in Guatemala are subjected to death threats, physical attacks, acts of harassment, surveillance, stigmatisation, judicial harassment, arbitrary detention, forced disappearance and killings. Many of the violations are carried out by clandestine security structures and illegal groups. The exceptionally high level of impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators increases the risk exponentially for HRDs.


Yolanda Oqueli