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Pedro Rafael Maldonado Flores

Pedro Rafael Maldonado Flores

Centro de Accion Legal, Ambiental y Social de Guatemala - CALAS

Pedro Rafael Maldonado Flores is a human rights lawyer working with Centro de Accion Legal, Ambiental y Social de Guatemala - CALAS (Legal, Environmental and Social Action Centre of Guatemala). CALAS works to promote environmental issues, community participation and respect for the collective rights of indigenous communities in relation to environmental concerns. The human rights defender has worked on legal proceedings defending the rights of local communities affected by the imposition of mining projects, in particular the transnational mining company Tahoe Resources Inc., and its Guatemalan subsidiary Minera San Rafael S.A. He has also worked on lawsuits against the criminalization of human rights defenders.

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.