Organizations Condemn the Murder of Jeremy Abraham Barrios Lima from CALAS and Demand Justice from the Guatemalan Authorities

November 22, 2016

November 22, 2016

Jeremy Abraham Barrios was murdered on November 12th in Guatemala City by unidentified persons that shot him twice with a firearm. His belongings were left at the scene of the crime, which indicates that the aggressors’ motive was to intimidate the Center for Legal, Environmental and Social Action (Centro de Acción Legal-Ambiental y Social, CALAS), where Jeremy Barrios worked as an assistant to the Director, Yuri Melini, for the past two years. The twenty-two year old was a student leader, graduate of Escuela Normal Central para Varones (ENCV), and actively participated in the 2013 activities protesting the education policy reforms.

In recent years, members of CALAS have been targets of attacks, threats, and subject to acts of intimidation for their work in defending the environment and territory of indigenous and rural communities. The murder of Jeremy Barrios takes place within a context of growing criminalization and violence against defenders of Human Rights in Guatemala. The impunity revolving around this regrettable act and the absence of protection measures for the rest of the CALAS members poses a risk to their lives and their ability to continue working in the defense of human rights in their country.

The signing organizations await a prompt and impartial investigation to be conducted by the Public Ministry Unit for Attacks Against Human Rights Activists (Unidad de Ataques contra Activistas de Derechos Humanos del Ministerio Público) so that the  masterminds and perpetrators of this crime are duly identified and punished. Likewise, we call for necessary protection measures to be granted to the members of CALAS and ask that the Human Rights Defenders Protection Unit (Unidad de Protección a Defensores y Defensoras de Derechos Humanos de Guatemala, UDEFEGUA), the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and the international community to follow-up on the Guatemalan authorities’ actions.

Finally, we express our solidarity with the families and Friends of Jeremy Abraham Barrios.

Signing organizations