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Yuri Melini

Yuri Melini

HRD, Founder
Centro de Acción Legal-Ambiental y Social de Guatemala (CALAS)
Front Line Defenders Award
2009

“As a strong supporter of the work of Front Line I am proud to be here today to lend my support to Dr Yuri Melini, a courageous man who has chosen to dedicate his life to defending the rights of others. His work to protect the environment will have a lasting benefit for the whole community”.
- Martin Sheen, Actor

Surviving an assassination attempt that left me in the hospital in intensive care for 68 days motivates me to tell you that we should not be afraid. That we should push ahead. That we are right.

Dr. Yuri Melini has worked for over 20 years to protect the environment and to ensure the rights of indigenous peoples in Guatemala. He is the founder of Centro de Acción Legal-Ambiental y Social de Guatemala (CALAS). He has been targeted for assassination, surviving a shooting attempt on his life in 2008. He continues to face threats and intimidation and requires full-time security.

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.

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Yuri Melini