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Maria Magdalena Tun

María Magdalena Tun

HRD
Voices of Resistance
International Day of the World Indigenous Peoples - Campaign
2017

María Magdalena Tun is a Guatemalan Maya K’iche human rights defender (HRD), who is struggling against the abuses committed by private companies who manage mining or hydro-electrical projects in her region. Together with the other members of the organisation “Voz de la Resistencia” (Voices of Resistance), she raises awareness among her community about the negative impact of mega-projects in her region. In particular, she tries to engage more women in the struggle, as they are often marginalised and excluded from decision-making processes in their communities.

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.