Attorney General and Head of the Public Prosecutor’s Office
Lic. Claudia Paz y Paz Bailey
Fiscal General de la República y Jefa del Ministerio Público
15a Avenida 15-16, Zona 1, Barrio Gerona
Ciudad de Guatemala
Norma Cruz has received numerous death threats for her work documenting cases of violence against women in Guatemala and helping women fight for justice. She leads Fundación Sobrevivientes (Survivors’ Foundation), a women’s rights organization based in Guatemala City. Some of her relatives have also suffered threats and attacks.
Since May 2009, Norma Cruz has received dozens of threats relating to her organization’s provision of legal assistance in the case of a girl who was raped. The threats warn of fatal consequences if Norma Cruz does not stop working on the case. Threats have been sent by text message and by phone, both to her mobile phone and to the office of Fundación Sobrevivientes.
One man has been charged with making two of the death threats sent in 2009. He has since been released on bail. However, the Public Prosecutor’s Office has not reported any progress in the investigation into the remaining death threats against Norma Cruz, her relatives or members of the Fundación Sobrevivientes.
Even though the Guatemalan authorities have provided Norma Cruz, her family and her office with police protection, the threats continue. On March 2011, the offices in the department of Chiquimula were damaged by a firebomb. No one was injured in the attack. To date, nobody has yet been held to account.
Guatemalan human rights organizations continue to report attacks and threats against human rights defenders, trade unionists and grassroots political and social activists. Most of these people do not receive an adequate response from the state. The authorities usually fail to provide effective protection measures in a timely manner and to fully investigate the attacks.
I would like to call on the Attorney General to investigate the death threats against human rights defender Norma Cruz, and to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.
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