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Mutual Support Group

The Mutual Support Group (Grupo de Apoyo Mutuo) is a civil society organisation created in 1984 that brings together relatives of people illegally detained and forcibly disappeared in Guatemala during the Internal Armed Conflict that lasted from 1960 to 1996. The Mutual Support Group works for justice, investigating cases from the past, to open legal proceedings before the national and Inter-American human rights systems. As part of their work, they prepare thematic reports related to current rates of violence and monitor the institutions that make up the security and justice sector. Its fundamental work in the search for justice for disappeared persons and for the dignity of victims in Guatemala led GAM to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.

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.