Send a message to Yolanda Oquelí
On June 13, 2012, Yolanda was shot and seriously injured likely because of her outspoken opposition to a gold mine under construction in her community. No one has been arrested for this attack.
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Over 10,000 Canadians have signed Amnesty International's appeal to defend the rights of Yolanda Oquelí, a courageous activist who has been attacked for her work to protect the human rights of her community in Guatemala.
Human rights defenders who oppose large-scale development projects are some of the most at-risk people in the world. They face threats, harassment, attempts on their lives, and often meritless legal charges, because they demand that their governments respect their human rights in the course of approving major development projects. The Guatemalan government does not have the necessary regulations in place to ensure the rights of citizens, and in particular Indigenous peoples, are respected in the process of licensing mines.
March 2, 2014 was the second anniversary of the peaceful resistance movement called “La Puya”. Yolanda told Amnesty International,
“This resistance of ours has become a national example...We know that our struggle is legitimate and that as human beings, we have the right to defend our lives.... When wherever we look there seems to be only darkness, that’s what keeps us going: the faith and the hope that one day we will be able to change things”.
Thank you for your messages of solidarity!
Dozens of Canadians sent messages of encouragement and solidarity to Yolanda and her colleagues at La Puya. Thank you. Please visit our Don't Undermine our Rights page to learn more about the situation at La Puya. To sign up for our email list, please send an email to: mining_guatemala(at)amnesty.ca and put 'email list' in the subject heading.
Amnesty members in Canada send a video messages of support and solidarity to Yolanda Oquelí
Your letters and cards have made a great deal of difference to Yolanda Oquelí, her family and her colleagues.
La Puya struggle to defend their rights
People in the communities of San Jose del Golfo and San Pedro Ayampuc are concerned that a US-owned gold mine will have a negative impact on the surrounding environment and their livelihoods. Yolanda was shot and seriously injured for her outspoken opposition to the mine, but no one has been arrested her attack. Yolanda and her colleagues continue to face threats and harassment for their important human rights work.
Every day for the past two years, the two communities have maintained a peaceful blockade in order to prevent heavy machinery and equipment from entering the mine site. Despite torrential rains, the cruel heat of the noontime sun, or the bitter cold of a December night, community members take turns keeping watch 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All of the blockade participants, from young children to the elderly, form part of the resistance movement called La Puya.
In their struggle to defend the environment and human rights, members have embraced one guiding principle above all others: a wholehearted commitment to nonviolence. This commitment has been repeatedly put to the test. One community leader explained, "if any blood is spilled here, it will be ours. That is how deeply we believe in nonviolence".
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|Yolanda Oqueli and her colleagues in Guatemala need your support. Send a solidarity letter to support their work #Guatemala #mining #BHRSolidarity|