Stop the Death Threats. Defend Norma Cruz.

January 23, 2012

Norma Cruz
Guatemalan human rights defender Norma Cruz is the director of Fundación Sobrevivientes (c) Amnesty International

Norma Cruz is a Guatemalan human rights defender who has been repeatedly threatened with death because of her work documenting cases of violence against women and fighting for justice. Some of her relatives have even suffered threats and attacks because of her work.

It’s time someone defended Norma.  Through our new Faxjam campaign you can help stand up for Norma and other activists in Guatemala who face constant danger.

Norma Cruz leads an organization called ‘Survivors Foundation’ in Guatemala City that documents violence against women, including the thousands of rapes and killings of women.  Most of the threats that Norma has received have been related to their legal assistance in the case of a girl who was raped in 2004.

Amnesty has been campaigning on Norma’s behalf for years which has helped lead to greater media attention and forced the government of Guatemala to give her more protection. This resulted in the conviction of one of the people who threatened her in 2008. The Guatemala Public prosecutor’s office, however, has not reported any advances in the investigation into death threats received since 2010. Because of the positive development last time, we think now is the moment to step up our campaign.

Every year in Guatemala, hundreds of people are imprisoned, or face intimidation and violence solely for peacefully expressing their beliefs or defending the rights of other people. According to the Human Rights Defenders Protection Unit (UDEFEGUA), 2011 was the most violent year for human rights defenders, with a 33% increase over 2010 in the number of attacks or threats against rights defenders.

Amnesty activists and the public from all over the world will be taking part in this faxjam campaign. You might be wondering, Why fax? In Guatemala, since fax is still very much used as a tool of communication, sending a huge number of physical faxes will have a greater impact on the Guatemalan Attorney General’s offices than receiving emails. But just in case they try to shut us down, we’ve found several different fax numbers. If all the faxes get switched off, we will collect the names of those taking action and will send these as a petition to the Attorney General in Guatemala.

Stand with Norma Cruz and other brave human rights defenders who risk their lives daily to document violations and protect those in need and take action!