Twenty years on from the Guatemalan peace agreement, the situation for human rights defenders in the country remains as precarious as ever.

During the debate on the murder of activists who protested and defended against the violation of their human rights and exploitation of natural resources by European multinational projects, GUE/NGL Marina Albiol demanded urgent action and accountability from the EU as a result of their trade agreement with Guatemala:

“Sixteen human rights defenders have been killed in more than 250 attacks in Guatemala last year.”

“What do they all have in common? They are fighting for human rights; social leaders who are fighting against mega multinational projects which force them to choose between emigrating or being exploited,” said Albiol, who cited the murders of Sebastián Alonso Juan and Laura Leonor Vazquez as examples of such violations.

Albiol continued, “hydro-electric projects like Pojom II and RENACE, mining companies such as FeNix; the oil company Perenco in Petén – all of them are European companies.”

“That is why the EU has a responsibility to recognise these human rights violations in relation to the work of the multinationals which operate in countries like Guatemala as a result of EU trade agreements.”

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