Front Line Defenders, the Ireland-based human rights organization, today recognized the communities of Ixquisis, in northern Huehuetenango, for their nonviolent defense of the environment.
Presenting its 2018 Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk in the Americas, Front Line praised the communities’ “collective efforts and peaceful struggle to defend their rights to land and environmental justice.”
“We are in a very difficult struggle, we are growing old, but we want the future generations -our families, our children- to be able to enjoy the blessings that God had given us so that we may live on this earth.”
– Joel Raymundo, Ixquisis defender
Front Line commended the communities’ work “in response to the grave human rights violations committed in the name of ‘economic development’ in Guatemala,” specifically the imposition of hydroelectric projects that are causing environmental damage and social conflict.
The government has authorities destructive mining and hydroelectric mega-projects in the region despite the widespread opposite from the 59 villages and 7 communities in the municipality. Human rights defenders in the Peaceful Resistance risk their lives to defend the territory. In 2017 alone, there were more than 75 reported attacks against defenders in the Peaceful Resistance including killings, shootings, harassment, and defamation campaigns. – Front Line
The Human Rights Defender’s Project congratulates the families of Ixquisis for this important recognition of their valiant struggle to defend their land, water, and environment!
Here is a brief, excellent video about the Ixquisis resistance (with English subtitles):