[Fwd: Urgent Action Guatemala - WOMEN ORGANISATION'S MEMBERS ASSAULTED]

Carrol Cox cbcox at SPAMilstu.edu
Fri Nov 10 14:44:03 MST 2000





-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Urgent Action Guatemala - WOMEN ORGANISATION'S MEMBERS
ASSAULTED
Date: Fri, 10 Nov 2000 10:20:15 -0800
From: Sid Shniad <shniad at SFU.CA>
Reply-To: Discussions on the Socialist Register and its
articles<SOCIALIST-REGISTER at YorkU.CA>
To: SOCIALIST-REGISTER at YORKU.CA

Date: Thu, 9 Nov 2000 16:31:41 -0800
To: isalaver at yahoo.com
From: ctfca at look.ca (Christian Task Force on Central America)
Subject: Urgent Action Guatemala


URGENT ACTION * URGENT ACTION * URGENT ACTION *

WOMEN ORGANISATION'S MEMBERS ASSAULTED

Dear Friends;

We received an urgent action request from the Guatemalan women's
organisation, Women In Solidarity (AMES), concerning the attack against
AMES and another women organisation Mujer Vamos Adelante.

* According to AMES, last October 11 heavily armed men entered their
office
at 9 am, threatening and kicking two of the women working there. The men
stole computer equipment, a television, a video recorder, sound
equipment,
medicine from their clinic, and cash.

* In the office of Mujer Vamos Adelante the women were also atacked and
robbed.  The acts of intimidation were perpetrated the same week of the
International Women's march.  In several cities in Guatemala thousands
of
women marched demanding an end to violence and poverty.

* The first week in November, the women's organisation working the
project
Reduction of Violence against Women in the Province of Izabal was also
assaulted.  We do not have detailed information about this act of
violence.


BACKGROUND INFORMATION
These break-in are the latest in a wave of threats, intimidation,
violence
and robberies against human rights and somen organisations in Guatemala
in
recent months. Activists point to the fact that General Rios Montt,
current
President of Congress, who has been accused by Rigoberta Menchu of
genocide
against Mayan people and the recent appointment of Byron Barrientos --
former military intelligence officer -- as Minister of the Interior as
one
of the causes for the rise of violence. Barrientos was a member of the
G-2
army intelligence unit, a military structure documented by the
Historical
Clarification Commission (CEH) and in the REMHI report as responsible
for
acts of violence such as torture, enforced disappearances of children,
women and men and massacres against the Guatemalan people.

To date, the Alfonso Portillo administration has done little to combat
or
investigate escalating violence against human rights workers. For many,
Prime Minister Chretien's lack of knowledge about Guatemala's background
and current situation during  his fall visit to the region to discuss
trade
issues, set a dangerous precedent .  Prime Minister Chretien did not
meet
with representatives of human rights organisations which could be
interpreted by those in power that Canada is uninterested in human
rights
or ending impunity in Guatemala. The same night that Prime Minister
Chretien left Guatemala, human rights groups were threatened.

Women, in particular, have suffered greatly as victims of violence
themselves or as survivors of acts of violence against their family
members
and loved ones. When a husband or partner is killed, the woman often
must
take on the added responsibilities of sole bread-winner, family
counseller,
care-giver for elderly parents and in-laws, and single parent. The
effect
on women's mental and physical health has been substantial. AMES works
with
many women victims of the 36-year long civil war.  AMES' work is with
people who are excluded from land, education and healthcare.  They
provide
service to women working in sweatshops and living in marginal areas.

RECOMMENDATIONS
Please write to the Guatemalan authorities via fax, email or mail:

* expressing your concern at these latest acts of intimidation against
women and human rights workers in Guatemala

* asking for an objective and complete investigation into the attacks
and
intimidation  of members of AMES and Mujer Vamos Adelante organisations
and
the robbery of valuable office equipment and files

* to bring those responsible to justice in order to break the cycle of
impunity in the country.

* an end to the climate of insecurity and impunity caused by the lack of
respect for human rights or for the rule of law.  To promote and
implement a policy of protection  and respect for women and their
organisations.

* that the Guatemalan Government, following the recommendations from the
Truth Commission, remove and do not appoint in positions of power
those accused of gross human rights violations.

Appeals to:

Sr. Alfonso Portillo
Presidente de la República
Palacio Nacional
Ciudad de Guatemala
Guatemala, C.A.
Fax: 011-502-221-4537
or:  011-502-230-1508

United Nations Mission to Guatemala
MINUGUA
Boulevard Los Próceres, 18-67 zona 10
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Tel: 011-502-366-8211
Fax: 011-502-367-3155

Minister John Manley
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
House of Commons
125 Sussex Dr., Ottawa, Ont.
K1A 0A6 (no postage needed)
Fax: 1-613-996-3443

Ambassador  Alain Culham
Canadian Ambassador to C.A.
Canadian Embassy
13 calle 8-44 zona 10
Edyma Plaza, 8th Floor
Apartado Postal 400
Guatemala City, Guatemala 01010
Email: gtmla at dfait-maeci.g

COPIES TO:

Prensa Libre
13 calle 9-31, zona 1
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Tel/Fax: 011-502-251-8768, 230-2193, 230-2257
Email: medioselectronicos at prensalibre.com.gt
nacional at prensalibre.com.gt
Alliance Against Impunity/Alianza Contra la Impunidad
1a calle  0-11 zona 2,
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Tel/Fax: 011-502-232-2651
Email: alianza at amigo.net.gt

THANK YOU FOR YOUR RESPONSE!

Christian Task Force on Central America
408-207 West Hastings
P.O. Box 65899
Station F
Vancouver, BC V5N 5L4
phone: 604-875-9218
fax: 604-875-0919
ctfca at look.ca







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