Take Action for Pedro Rafael Maldonado Flores
On 3 April 2017, unidentified men driving a motorcycle fired eight to twelve gun shots at a vehicle parked in front of the home of human rights defender Pedro Rafael Maldonado Flores, in Guatemala City.
Pedro Rafael Maldonado Flores is the Director of the Legal Department at Centro de Acción Legal Ambiental y Social de Guatemala - CALAS (Legal, Environmental and Social Action Centre of Guatemala). CALAS is a human rights organisation working to promote environmental issues, community participation and respect for the collective rights of indigenous communities. CALAS has been active in denouncing human rights abuses committed by mining companies in the region, in particular the transnational mining company Tahoe Resources Inc., and its Guatemalan subsidiary Minera San Rafael S.A.
On 3 April 2017, at approximately 9.20 pm, unidentified men on a motorcycle drove past the home of Pedro Rafael Maldonado Flores and fired eight to twelve shots at a commercial vehicle parked on the other side of the road. The incident was reported to the local authorities and to the Public Prosecution.
Members of CALAS have been targeted on numerous occasions because of their human rights work. Pedro Rafael Maldonado Flores has faced several acts of intimidation, attacks, smear campaigns, threats and judicial harassment. On 12 November 2016, Jeremy Abraham Barrios Lima, a member of CALAS, was shot by two unidentified assailants on a motorcycle and subsequently died from his injuries. In January 2016, Pedro Rafael Maldonado Flores was targeted by Fundación Contra el Terrorismo (Foundation Against Terrorism), an organisation comprised of former army personnel, multinational companies and other groups. The organisation brought charges against him to the Tribunal for crimes such as discrimination, threats, aggravated theft, coercion, incitement to crime and conspiracy and the case was accepted.
In November 2015, the human rights defender received death threats via his Twitter account. This was followed by an attack on the headquarters of CALAS in July 2015, when an unknown gunman riding a motorcycle fired a number of shots outside the offices of the organisation. The human rights defender was also named in many defamatory newspaper articles in 2013.
Pedro Rafael Maldonado Flores is a beneficiary of protection measures from the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights. In December 2015, he was put under protective measures (medidas de seguridad personal) by order of the Guatemalan Ministry of the Interior. In spite of this, Pedro Rafael Maldonado Flores and his colleagues from CALAS believe that they remain in danger, as they continue to be targeted. These protective measures do not prevent Pedro Rafael Maldonado Flores from suffering further judicial harassment.
I express concern at the most recent act of intimidation against Pedro Rafael Maldonado Flores. Further concern is expressed at the continuous intimidation and harassment also suffered by the human rights defender and other members of CALAS because of their legitimate human rights work.
I urge the authorities in Guatemala to:
1. Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the acts of intimidation against Pedro Rafael Maldonado Flores, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;
2. Take all necessary measures, in consultation with the human rights defenders and/or their representatives, to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Pedro Rafael Maldonado Flores and all members of CALAS;
3. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Guatemala are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.