HRDs being interviewed by journalists


195 International Organizations Denounce Latest Attacks Against Members of the Peaceful Resistance to Escobal Mine

22 January 2021

Demands for an investigation and an end to company interference in Guatemala following assassination attempt and threats against members of the peaceful resistance to the Canadian-owned Escobal mine

21 January 2021

To whom it may concern,

The below-signed organizations denounce the assassination attempt against Mr. Julio David González Arango, a member of the Peaceful Resistance of Santa Rosa, Jalapa, and Jutiapa to Pan American Silver’s Escobal mine. On the morning of Saturday, January 16, 2021, unknown men shot Mr. González at his home in the municipality of Mataquescuintla, Jalapa, where he also runs a small shop. He was immediately rushed to the hospital with serious injuries.

The following day, Mr. Juan Eduardo Donis and Mr. Pablo Adolfo Valenzuela Lima, two other members of the peaceful resistance to the mine who are also from Mataquescuintla, received text messages threatening their lives. The threats included an explicit reference to the attack on Mr. González and indicated that Mr. Donis and Mr. Valenzuela would be next.

This attack on Mr. González and the grave threats against Mr. Donis and Mr. Valenzuela is the culmination of an increasingly tense and dangerous context for members of the peaceful resistance and the Xinka Parliament of Guatemala. Mr. González has long been the target of threats and intense defamation campaigns by people who support the Escobal mine. Yet, in early December, as a result of the intensification of aggressions, Mr. González filed a complaint with the Human Rights Defenders Unit of the Public Prosecutor’s office. Following this complaint, direct threats also increased against Mr. Donis and Mr. Valenzuela, as well as against Edwin Alexander Reynoso Bran and Quelvin Otoniel Jiménez Villalta, lawyer for the Xinka Parliament.

It is important to note that Mr. Reynoso already suffered two assassination attempts in 2014 and 2015. During the first attack, Topacio Reynoso Pacheco, Mr. Reynoso’s daughter and a 16-year-old human rights defender, was assassinated. Mr. Reynoso is one of 59 representatives elected to participate in the court-ordered consultation with the Xinka people on the Escobal mine. Attorney Quelvin Jiménez has also suffered threats since the Constitutional Court decision that ordered said consultation. Due to these threats, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights granted him precautionary measures in July 2019.

Since September 2020, the Xinka Parliament has denounced the emergence of a group that describes itself as the “Reorganized Resistance of Casillas,” which is working against the Peaceful Resistance of Santa Rosa, Jalapa, and Jutiapa. This group, led by a former security guard for the Escobal mine, is attempting to undermine Xinka leadership and generate community division and an environment of insecurity. Members of the resistance believe the group is working in coordination with Pan American Silver. Representatives from the mining company and the Ministry of Energy and Mines have participated in meetings with this group.

Additionally, over the last few months, the Xinka Parliament has denounced Pan American Silver’s activities, which include unnecessary truck arrivals at the mine and continued community projects. These activities foment tension and social division given that all operations should be suspended. The Parliament has also denounced the company’s community outreach programs as coercion and in violation of the “free” nature of the consultation.

The Escobal mine has been suspended since June 2017, first due to two peaceful encampments to block mine traffic in the municipalities of Mataquescuintla and Casillas. The resistance movement continues to maintain these around-the-clock peaceful encampments today. A Supreme Court decision issued in July 2017 legally suspended mining operations. The order was ratified by the Constitutional Court on September 3, 2018. The Court ordered the Ministry of Energy and Mines to carry out a consultation with the Xinka people whose rights have been violated by the mining project, in accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples. In its decision, the Constitutional Court “has been emphatic in affirming that a situation marked by confrontation, violence, and mistrust does not help to make the consultation truly productive.”

In response to the attempt on the life of Mr. González, the threats against other community leaders, and the increase in tension in the area:

  •     We join in solidarity with the demands of the Xinka Parliament of Guatemala and call for a full and impartial investigation by the National Civil Police and the Public Prosecutor’s Office into the assassination attempt against Mr. Gonzalez.
  •     We demand a full and impartial investigation by the National Civil Police and the Public Prosecutor’s Office into the January 17 threats against Mr. Donis, and Mr. Valenzuela, and the serious threats against Mr. Reynoso and Mr. Jiménez.
  •     We urge the Human Rights Ombudsman to take all necessary measures to guarantee the human rights of Julio David González Arango, his family, the Peaceful Resistance of Santa Rosa, Jalapa and Jutiapa, and the Xinka Parliament of Guatemala. As requested by Mr. Gonzalez and his family, it is urgent to implement security measures to guarantee his safety.
  •     We urge the corresponding authorities to ensure respect for the Constitutional Court resolution #4785-2017, such that the free and good-faith character of the consultation process is guaranteed, including before, during, and after the pre-consultation and consultation of the Xinka People.
  •     We demand that Pan American Silver uphold the order of the Constitutional Court and halt its community relations work, which are undeniably part of mine operations and contribute to increased tensions in the region and the insecurity of its residents.
  •     We call on the national and international community to pay special attention to the risks being faced by Xinka communities and members of the resistance in Santa Rosa, Jalapa, and Jutiapa, who are peacefully protesting in defense of life.


Latin America

ACAFREMIN – Alianza Centro Americana Frente a la Mineria, Regional

Acción Colectiva Socioambiental, A.C., Mexico

ActionAid Guatemala

Asamblea Ciudadana contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad -ACCI-, Guatemala

Asamblea Departamental de los Pueblos de Huehuetenango -ADH-, Guatemala

Asociación Bufete Jurídico Popular, Guatemala

Asociación CEIBA, Guatemala

Asociación Colectivo Madreselva, Guatemala

Asociación de Comunidades para el Desarrollo y la Defensa de la Tierra y los Recursos Naturales -ACODET-, Guatemala

Asociación Interamericana para la Defensa del Ambiente, Brazil

Asociación para el Desarrollo Integral de las Victimas de la Violencia en las Verapaces, Maya Achi. -ADIVIMA.-, Guatemala

Asociación por la Protección de la Tierra y el Bienestar de Epazoyucan A.C -APTyBE-, Mexico

Asociación Q’anil, Guatemala

Asociación Rincón Juvenil -ARJ-, Guatemala

Asociadas por lo Justo -JASS- Mesoamérica , Regional

Bios Iguana A. C., Mexico

Catemu en Movimiento, Chile

Comité Campesino del Altiplano -CCDA-, Guatemala


Centro para la Acción Legal en Derechos Humanos -CALDH-, Guatemala

Consejo Maya K’iche’ Quetzaltenango, Guatemala

Colectivo Miradas en Resistencia, Guatemala

Colectivo Poder Constituyente, Guatemala

Colectivo por la Vida, Guatemala

Colectivo Voces Ecológicas COVEC, Panama

Comité de Unidad Campesina de Guatemala

Comité Diálogo Ambiental, Puerto Rico

Comunidad Ecuménica Martin Luther King, Chile

Consejo Ecuménico Cristiano de Guatemala

Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras -COPINH

Consejo del Pueblo Maya -CPO-, Guatemala

Consejo Wuxhtaj, Guatemala

Coordinadora de Territorios por la Defensa de los Glaciares, Chile

Coordinadora de Organizaciones Populares del Aguan -COPA-, Honduras

Corporación Cultural Aclowncagua, Chile

DECOIN, Ecuador


Equipo de Estudios Comunitarios y Acción Psicosocial -ECAP-, Guatemala

Federación por la Autodeterminación de los Pueblos Indígenas -FAPI-, Paraguay

ForumCiv, Colombia

Frente Nacional por la Salud de los Pueblos del Ecuador -FNSPE

Frente Popular, Guatemala

Frente Popular en Defensa del Soconusco, Mexico

FSAR, Hondruas

Fundación Promoción Humana, Argentina

Fundación Savia Roja, Ecuador

GeoComunes, Mexico

Gobierno Ancestral Plurinacional, Guatemala

Grupo belga ‘Solidair met Guatemala

Grupo de Pesquisa e Extensão Política, Economia, Mineração, Ambiente e Sociedade -PoEMAS-, Brazil

Hijos e Hijas por la Identidad y la Justicia con el Olvido y el Silencio -Hijxs-, Guatemala

Mesa Social Quillota, Chile

Movimento pela Soberania Popular na Mineração- MAM,  Brazil

Movimiento Cultural Aconcagua, Chile

Movimiento Mesoamericano contra el Modelo extractivo Minero -M4-, Regional

Movimiento Morelense contra las Concesiones de Minería a Tajo Abierto por Metales, Mexico

Movimiento Nacional de salud Laicrimpo, Argentina

Observatorio de Industrias Extractivas, Guatemala

Observatorio Latinoamericano de Conflictos Ambientales -OLCA-, Chile

Observatorio Social de Mato Grosso, Brazil

Organización Animalistas San Bernardo, Chile

Organización de Mujeres Tierra Viva, Guatemala

Otra Guatemala Ya, Guatemala

Otros Mundos AC/Chiapas, Mexico

Oxfam en Guatemala

Parroquia San Juan Bautista, Guatemala

Pastoral de la Tierra, Pastoral Social Diócesis de San Marcos, Guatemala

Pastoral Social Regional Suroriente Colombiano, Colombia

Plan Nacional de Contingencia contra la Pandemia y el Hambre -PNCPH-, Guatemala

Plataforma Agraria, Honduras

Procesos Integrales para la Autogestión de los Pueblos, Mexico

Programa de voluntariado internacional en Intag, Ecuador

Protección Internacional Mesoamérica, Regional

RAIS IXCÁN, Guatemala

Red Continental Cristiana por la Paz, Guatemala

Red de Género y Medio Ambiente, Mexico

Red de Integración Orgánica, Guatemala

Red Europeo de Comités Oscar Romero, Guatemala

Red Latinoamericana de Mujeres Defensoras de Derechos Sociales y Ambientales, Regional

Red Mexicana de Afectadas/os por la Minería -REMA-, Mexico

Red Multicultural de Mujeres Trans de Guatemala

Red por la Paz y el Desarrollo de Guatemala -RPDG

Red Regional Agua, Desarrollo y Democracia – Piura, Peru

Resistencia Pacífica La Puya, Guatemala

North America

Amandla Radio – CKUT, Canada

Atlantic Council for International Cooperation, Canada

Atlantic Regional Solidarity Network, Canada

B.C. Government and Service Employees Union, Canada

Barnard-Boecker Centre Foundation, Canada

Blue Planet Project, Canada

Camp Migizi, United States

Canadian Foreign Policy Institute

Canadian Mining Awareness

Canadian Network for Corporate Accountability -CNCA

Canadian Union of Public Employees -CUPE

Caron consulting Inc., Canada

Casa Maria, United States

Center for Human Rights and Environment, United States and Argentina

Center for International Environmental Law -CIEL-, United States

Centre International de Solidarité Ouvrière -CISO-, Canada

Centro de Derechos Humanos y Ambiente -CEDHA-, United States

Camp Fiorante Matthews Mogerman Lawyers, Canada

Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America -CRLN-, United States

Coalition for Another World – Denver, United States

Comité por los derechos humanos en América Latina -CDHAL-, Canada

Common Frontiers, Canada

Denver Freedom Skool, United States

Denver Justice and Peace Committee -DJPC-, United States

Drum roaster Coffee, Canada

E-Tech International, United States

EarthRights International, United States

Eco-Justice Working Group, United Church of Canada, Maritimes Region, Canada

Education in Action, Canada

Environmental Defender Law Center, United States

Earthworks, United States

FL International Solidarity Collective, United States

Global Labor Justice – International Labor Rights Forum -GLJ-ILRF-, United States

Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, United States

Guatemala Human Rights Commission, United States

Guatemala Partnership Committee, Congregational Church of Needham, United States

Hesperian Health Guides, United States

Honor the Earth, United States

Human Rights Defenders Project, United States

Human Rights Implementation Centre -HRIC-, United States

Indigenous Environmental Network, United States

Institute for Human- Animal Connection, United States

Institute for Policy Studies – Global Economy Program, United States

Inter American Association for Environmental Defense -AIDA-, Colombia and United States

International Mayan League, United States

InterReligious Task Force on Central America, United States

JB Foundation, United States

Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Office of the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul, Canada

KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, Canada

Latin America Working Group -LAWG-, United States

Latin American Canadian Solidarity Association, Canada

Latin American Solidarity Network -LACSN-, United States

Maquila Solidarity Network

Maritimes- Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network, Canada

Mining Injustice Solidarity Network, Canada

Mining Justice Action Committee, Canada

Mining Justice Alliance, Canada

MiningWatch Canada

Montreal Elders for Environmental Justice, Canada

Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala -NISGUA-, United States

New Hampshire-Vermont Guatemala Accompaniment Project, United States

Northfield Against Line 3, United States

Oberlin Students in Solidarity with Guatemala, United States

Older Women Live CKUT 90.3 FM -OWL-, Canada

People’s Health Movement – Anti-Extractive Industry Group, Canada

Projet Accompagnement Québec-Guatemala -PAQG-, Canada

Public Service Alliance of Canada, Canada

Public Service Alliance of Canada, BC Region, Canada

Quixote Center, United States


Rights Action, Canada

Scholar-Activist Working Group, United States

School of the Americas Watch, United States

Solidarity Kjipuktuk Halifax, Canada

Students for Mining Justice, University of British Columbia, Canada

The United Church of Canada

Todos por Guatemala/All for Guatemala, Canada

UNBC Guatemala Research Group, Canada

Union of BC Indian Chiefs, Canada

United for Mining Justice, Canada

United Steelworkers, Canada

US El Salvador Sister Cities, United States

West Kootenay Central American Support Group, Canada

Xat’sull (Soda Creek) Indigenous community, Canada

United for Mining Justice, CanadaEco-Justice Working Group, United Church of Canada, Maritimes Region, Canada


Asociación de Investigación y Especialización sobre Temas Iberoamericanos -AIETI-, Spain

EJAtlas Research Group, Spain

Environmental Justice Foundation, United Kingdom

Forest Peoples Programme, United Kingdom and Netherlands

Germanor Obrera d’Acció Catòlica de Barcelona – Sant Feliu, Spain

GOAC, Spain

Igapo Project, France

KM207 Gutemala Suiz, Switzerland

London Mining Network, United Kingdom

Overstory Alliance, United States

Perifèries del Món, Spain

Salva la Selva, Spain

SweFOR Guatemala, Sweden

The Gaia Foundation, United Kingdom


Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact -AIPP-, Asia

International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific, Malaysia

National Fisheries Solidarity, Sri Lanka

The Future We Need, India


Rainforest Action Group, Australia


Global Witness, International

People’s Health Movement

World BEYOND War, International