Justice against the criminalization of indigenous leaders

Indigenous leaders in Guatemala suffer from a serious situation of criminalization. We maintain support in the legal defense of the processes opened at national level against defenders of collective rights for the territory and the self-determination of the peoples.

We defend indigenous authorities who represent the collective demands of the peoples, in defense of vital resources such as land, water and forests, plundered by extractivist companies in collusion with the State.

Opposition to the model of these large companies and the defense of rights is strongly repressed. The indigenous representatives who lead the struggles are criminalized to the point of imprisonment, without an accusatory basis or legal guarantees, violating their fundamental rights.

Faced with this situation, we respond from the legal profession and grassroots organizations that participate in community struggles. We offer legal support to criminal proceedings against criminal defenders, we strengthen the evidence of legal and social empowerment of both the people affected and their environment, to guarantee better access to justice.

Number of direct beneficiaries:

Legal support to 4 individual cases of defenders and a collective case of 26 plaintiffs, widows of the Alaska massacre (Totonicapán).

Case Bernardo Caal

  • 1 person, direct family of 6 members

Oscar Sanchez case

  • 1 person, direct family of 5 members

Lolita Chavez case

  • 1 person, direct family of 5 members

Case Manuel Quema

  • 1 person, direct family of 5 members

Case of the Totonicapán massacre

  • 26 beneficiaries, direct families of 150 people

The total number of holders of the activity’s rights is 171 people, of whom 60% are women.


Guatemala, Central, Western and Northern regions of the country. The actions of the project will be carried out in the departments of Quiché, San Marcos, Totonicapán, Sololá and Alta Verapaz, where there are active cases of criminalization of indigenous defenders who have been identified by our local partner Uk'Ux'Be' . In addition, part of the activities will be carried out at the headquarters of Uk'Ux'Be' in the department of Chimaltenango.




Asociación Maya Uk'Ux'Be' (Quiché, Guatemala)


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