Persecution and resistance: The experience of human rights defenders in Guatemala and Honduras

Report
August 8, 2007

Persecution and resistance: The experience of human rights defenders in Guatemala and Honduras


Israel Carías was a local leader in the Committee of Peasant Unity (Comité de Unidad Campesina, CUC), and president of the Los Achiotes Integral Development Association (Asociación Integral de Desarrollo Los Achiotes, ACIDEA). For many years the CUC had been involved in efforts to resolve the continuing land dispute over the Los Achiotes farm, in Zacapa Department, south-eastern Guatemala, which has reportedly been occupied by landless rural workers for around 90 years.

The community of Los Achiotes has recently been involved in negotiations with the Guatemalan government to resolve their claim to the farmland. The community has also lodged complaints about alleged attempts by local landowners to annex some of the land illegally. In March 2007 representatives from the Land Registry Office had been due to measure the disputed land, suggesting that progress towards a resolution of the long-running land dispute was in sight at the time of the killings.

To date the investigation into the three killings has produced no results.