Police and security forces
The report of the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions issued in May noted the persistence of executions of gang members or criminal suspects. The Special Rapporteur noted that local organizations had found evidence of the continued involvement, both direct and indirect, of members of the police force in these killings. He also drew attention to the continued trend of lynchings, mostly of people suspected of robbery, and the failure of the authorities to take steps to stop these killings.
Violence against women and girls
In February, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women urged the government to increase efforts to stop violence against women, reverse the persistence of high levels of poverty and social exclusion, and address the disadvantages faced by women in the labour market.
In March, Congress passed a law to combat sexual violence, exploitation and people trafficking. According to government figures, 717 women were killed during 2009, an increase over the previous year. Many of those killed had been raped and their bodies mutilated.
Human rights defenders
Local human rights organizations reported a number of attacks and threats against human rights defenders. Most of those responsible were not held to account.
- In September Adolfo Ich Chamán, a local teacher and community leader, was killed in El Estor, Izabal department, in the context of an ongoing land dispute with a nickel mining company. Witnesses stated that company guards attacked and killed Adolfo Ich Chamán during a protest over an alleged attempt to forcibly evict the community. The company denied that a forced eviction had been threatened or carried out and that security guards had been involved in the killing.
- In April, Edgar Neftaly Aldana Valencia was threatened and shots were fired at his house in San Benito, Petén department. The threats specified that he had been targeted because of his trade union activities at a nearby hospital where he had helped expose corruption and medical negligence.
No investigation had been initiated into these incidents by the end of the year.
No new death sentences were passed during 2009 and no one was executed. At the end of the year, 15 people remained on death row.