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Access to Justice

Trócaire condemns the murder of Jeremy Barrios, staff member at our partner organisation CALAS, Guatemala

Jeremy Barrios

November 12, 2016

On November 12, 2016, in Guatemala City at around 5:30 pm, Jeremy Abraham Barrios Lima was shot twice in the head by two unidentified assailants on a passing motorbike.

He was 22 years old. He had worked for the last two years with Trócaire partner organisation CALAS – the Centre for Legal, Environmental and Social Action as assistant to the director.

We stand in solidarity with his mother, sisters, and other family members, as well as the Guatemalan human rights community.

Jeremy supported day-to-day operations and handled sensitive information related to high profile cases that CALAS is litigating. 

His assailants did not steal his personal belongings, which included two mobile phones, his identity card, and a savings card.

According to information provided by CALAS, Jeremy had not received any threats in the days prior to the murder.

However, other members of CALAS have been subjected to intimidation, attacks and attempted assassinations in the past.

Attacks on members of CALAS

On 30 November 2015, Pedro Rafael Maldonado Flores, head of the legal team at CALAS, received death threats via his Twitter account.

A few months earlier, on 29 July 2015, Pedro Rafael was in the CALAS office, when an unknown gunman on a motorbike fired a number of shots outside.

CALAS director Yuri Melini also survived an assassination attempt in 2008, when he was shot several times outside the home of a family member.

The investigation into Jeremy’s murder should explore the very likely possibility that he was killed in retaliation for his legitimate human rights work.  

Read: Report from Telesur on Jeremy’s murder, his work at CALAS, and the implications for other Guatemalan human rights defenders

Deadly environment for human rights defenders

Trócaire is deeply concerned about the dangerous and often deadly environment for human rights defenders working in defence of environmental, indigenous peoples’ and land rights in Guatemala and urges the State of Guatemala to provide adequate and effective protective measures to guarantee their safety and security as well as:

1. Strongly condemning the killing of human rights defender Jeremy Abraham Barrios Lima; 

2. Carrying out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the killing of Jeremy;

3. Guaranteeing that all human rights defenders in Guatemala are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions, including judicial harassment.

Trócaire is communicating the above concerns and requests to the Guatemalan authorities.

Take action now

Please join us in asking the Guatemalan authorities to condemn and carry out an impartial investigation into Jeremy’s murder. You can send a letter, an email, or tweet the following officials:
 
Attorney General
Thelma Aldana
Fiscal General de la República
15 Avenida 15-16, Zona 1
Edificio Gerona 8º Nivel
Ciudad de Guatemala, C.P. 01001
Guatemala
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @MPguatemala
Salutation: Dear Attorney General/Estimada Señora Fiscal
 
COPREDEH (Presidential Commission on Human Rights)
President Víctor Hugo Godoy 
2a Avenida 10-50, Zona 9 
Ciudad de Guatemala 
Guatemala 
Email: [email protected] 
Twitter: @COPREDEH
Salutation: Dear President Estimado señor Presidente
 
And copies to:

CALAS 
Avenida Mariscal No. 13-59, Zona 11 
Colonia Mariscal Ciudad de Guatemala
C.P. 01011 
Guatemala 
Fax: +502 2473 0813 
Email: [email protected]

Our thoughts and prayers are with Jeremy’s family and his colleagues at CALAS.

 

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