, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Instead of fleeing and using his computer education abroad, this brave hero was trying to help protect communities and the environment from mining companies. Although he received no death threats, there have been at least 11 murders within the last 11 months of those involved in the protection of the environment and land rights within tiny Guatemala alone: “In the days prior to the murder, he did not receive any anonymous death threats, nor perceived any kind of abnormality.” (CALAS)

Is your metal jewelry worth this man’s death? The death of others and the creation of refugees? Don’t you wonder where the Latin American refugees are coming from? Buy things from plant-based plastics if you can. If not, recycled metals and recycle again. Don’t “invest” in mining companies either. The nuclear industry cannot use recycled metals and depends on uranium mining. One more reason to shut it down. Surface mining and waste from subsurface mines destroys forest and farmland and because of acid mine drainage little can grow in the soil afterwards. With a growing world population we can’t afford to destroy more land. And, people should have the right to stay on their land. The world needs to stop creating refugees.
Jeremy Abraham Barrios Lima Murder Guatemala
Jeremy Abraham Barrios was working as the Assistant to the General Director of CALAS (Centro de Acción Legal Ambiental y Social de Guatemala). CALAS is a human rights organisation based in Guatemala City, which was founded in 2011 by human rights defender Yuri Melini, 2009 Front Line Defenders award winner. CALAS has been active in denouncing abuses committed by mining companies in the region, and working to protect environmental rights. On 12 November 2016, Jeremy Abraham Barrios Lima was shot and killed in Guatemala City.” https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/jeremy-abraham-barrios-lima

In the first 11 months of 2016, Front Line Defenders has recorded at least 11 killings of human rights defenders in Guatemala. As reported in the latest Front Line Defenders Annual Report, environmental, indigenous peoples’ and land rights defenders are those most at risk and in 2015 they were the target of 41 per cent of the killings in Latin America.https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/file/3148/download?token=1Y9Ny8Ee

From Mining Watch Canada:
News Release
16 November 2016, 12.00am EST
Murder of Young Assistant from Guatemalan Environmental Organization is Evidence of Escalating Risk to Human Rights Defenders
Jeremy Abraham Barrios Lima: http://miningwatch.ca/sites/default/files/jeremy.jpg
(Ottawa/Toronto/Vancouver/Reno/Washington/Guatemala) North American organizations are dismayed and deeply troubled by the execution-style murder of 22 year-old Jeremy Abraham Barrios Lima, assistant to the director of the Guatemalan Centre for Legal, Environmental and Social Action (CALAS), on Saturday in Guatemala City. http://www.breakingthesilenceblog.com/general/calas-denounces-the-murder-of-colleague-jeremy-abraham-barrios-lima/

A group of Canadian and US legal, environmental and social justice organizations, and solidarity networks publicly express their condolences for the victim’s mother and two young sisters. In addition, they are profoundly worried about the safety and continued work of CALAS and the mining-affected communities that this organization collaborates with. There is no denying the significance of this brutal murder amidst escalating violence against land and environment defenders, journalists and citizens involved in important environmental and social justice struggles in the country and the region.

Jeremy Barrios was cruelly assassinated by unknown assailants with two bullets to the head while doing errands in zone 4 of Guatemala City. He was responsible for managing sensitive information at CALAS and had not received any prior threat or warning of this attack. None of his personal belongings were stolen. His murder is understood as a direct message to CALAS’ director and other personnel. The precise motive for his murder is not yet known.   

“This attack on our colleagues’ organization comes as a terrible shock and a disturbing continuation of threats and brutality against human rights and environmental defenders throughout Guatemala. CALAS’s legal director Rafael Maldonado was with us in Vancouver only two weeks ago supporting Guatemalan victims of mining-related violence. We urge a full investigation into the material and intellectual authors of this murder, as well as protection for CALAS and its personnel,” remarked Matt Eisenbrandt, Legal Director for the Canadian Centre for International Justice (CCIJ).

“We are extraordinarily worried about the safety and work of organizations like CALAS and mining-affected communities around the country. In our recent study, Guatemala is where we found the highest amount of physical violence in connection with Canadian-owned mining projects,” stated Leah Gardner for the Justice and Corporate Accountability Project (JCAP) at Osgoode Hall Law School.  

The Justice and Corporate Accountability Project’s report, The ‘Canada Brand’: Violence and Canadian Mining Companies in Latin America, was released on October 24, 2016 and looked at incidents of violence and criminalization in connection with twenty-eight Canadian companies in thirteen countries in Latin America from 2000 to 2015. It found that at least 44 people have been killed during this time, 30 of which were targeted killings, while more than 400 people were injured, not including work-related injuries. They also found that over 700 people were legally persecuted during this period, including arrests and detentions, for their work in defense of their territories, livelihoods, health and environment.

Click to access the-canada-brand-report-2016-11-13.pdf

“The situation for land and environment defenders in Guatemala and Latin America is progressively getting more and more dangerous. It is absolutely urgent that the Canadian government respond to the demands that 180 Latin American organizations – including CALAS –  sent in a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau over six months ago to take measures to prevent systemic harms and ensure that affected peoples and communities have access to justice for the many harms taking place,” responded Lisa Rankin for the Breaking the Silence Maritimes-Guatemala Solidarity Network.

Among other things, the letter to Prime Minister Trudeau calls for measures to ensure respect for the decisions of numerous communities, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, who have said no to large-scale mining because of its severe and damaging impacts on the environment and social wellbeing. The letter also called for measures to ensure effective access to Canadian courts. http://miningwatch.ca/sites/default/files/letter_to_trudeaueng_0.pdf

In Guatemala alone, an estimated 1 million people have voted against mining on their lands and in their territories given the negative impacts that have been felt around Canadian held projects, such as Goldcorp’s Marlin mine and Tahoe Resources’ Escobal mine.

“In response to this deadly and devastating attack, and profound apprehension regarding ongoing militarization and threats against land and environment defenders in Guatemala, we want to reiterate our commitment to build ever greater solidarity from organizations in the U.S. and Canada to support Guatemalan partners in their essential work for healthy communities and a healthy environment,” emphasized Ellen Moore from the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN).

Amnesty International Canada, Breaking the Silence Maritimes-Guatemala Solidarity Network, the Canadian Centre for International Justice (CCIJ), the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), the Guatemalan Human Rights Commission (GHRC), the Justice and Corporate Accountability Project (JCAP), KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network (MISN), MiningWatch Canada, the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA), the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN), Projet Accompagnement Québec-Guatemala (PAQG),the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), and United for Mining Justice have released this as a joint statement.
* Matt Eisenbrandt, Canadian Centre for International Justice (CCIJ), (604) 569-1778, meisenbrandt(at)ccij.ca
* Leah Gardner, Justice and Corporate Accountability Project (JCAP), (514) 267-8542 lgardner(at)justice-project.org
* Lisa Rankin, Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network, btscoordinator(at)gmail.com
* Ellen Moore, Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN), (775) 348-7557, emoore(at)planevada.org
* Jen Moore, MiningWatch Canada, (613) 569-3439, jen(at)miningwatch.ca

© MiningWatch 2010 – 2016, CC-BY-SA: http://miningwatch.ca/news/2016/11/16/murder-young-assistant-guatemalan-environmental-organization-evidence-escalating https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/
(Emphasis added)

Translation by NISGUA
CALAS – Urgent Action 
Public Statement
Assistant to the General Director of the
 Center for Environmental and Social Legal Action of Guatemala (CALAS)

On November 12, 2016, in Guatemala City at approximately 5:30 PM, JEREMY ABRAHAM BARRIOS LIMA was shot and killed. He was 22 years old, single, graduated from high school with a focus on computer science, and was an activist and human rights defender. He worked for the last two years with CALAS as the Assistant to the General Director, tasked with institutional operations and handling sensitive information. He is survived by his mother and two younger sisters.

Through prior information gathered by CALAS and information given by family members, neighbors, firemen, and members of UDEFEGUA, we report that JEREMY ABRAHAM BARRIOS LIMA
* Worked for the past two years as Assistant to the General Director, tasked with institutional operations and handling of sensitive information.
* Was a former student leader in the normalista (teacher training) movement; former student at the Central Teacher Training School for Boys (Escuela Normal Central para Varones – ENCV), and remained active during the 2013 against the cancellation of the normalista teaching degree.
* In the days prior to the murder, he did not receive any anonymous death threats, nor perceived any kind of abnormality.
* The crime scene was under the care of the Public Prosecutor’s Office for Crimes Against Life. In the coming days, in response to the request by CALAS, the case will be transferred to the Unit of Attacks against Human Rights Defenders of the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Human Rights. It is already known that at the moment of the crime, he was alone, that none of his personal effects were taken (his wallet was together with his two cell phones, his personal identification card, debit card, and bag) and that he received two bullets directly to the head.

The National Civil Police, the Public Prosecutor’s Office, and the National Institute of Forensic Science (INACIF) carried out the initial proceedings. The online newspapers Soy 502 and Nuestro Diario published articles about the murder.

In actively condemning this crime, CALAS makes the following national and international URGENT ACTION AND PUBLIC DENOUNCEMENT, making the Human Rights Ombudsman (PDH) and the Unit for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders in Guatemala (UDEFEGUA) aware of the crime, as well as Front Line Defenders, Protection International, Amnesty International, the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, the European Union embassy in Guatemala and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights through its Guatemalan offices. As CALAS, we reiterate that we are committed to ensuring that this case does not remain in impunity.

We stand in solidarity with his mother, sisters, and other family members, as well as the Guatemalan human rights community. We expect action from the justice system so that this case does not remain in impunity.
Center for Environmental and Social Legal Action (CALAS)
Guatemala City, November 13 2016
(Emphasis our own).