This November 25, International Day of Non-Violence against Women, the Alliance to Break the Silence and Impunity, consisting of the Community Studies and Psychosocial Action Guatemala, ECAP, Women Transforming the World and the National Union Guatemalan women (UNAMG,) take up the political cause that gave rise to this commemoration, in memory of the Mirabal sisters, and with greetings all the women in Guatemala and the world who reject violence against themselves, their communities and their countries.
As plaintiffs and supporters of the Sepur Zarco case for justice for sexual slavery, we hail the decision of the High-Risk Court “B” to try the accused in this case: Lieutenant Colonel Reyes Esteelmer Girón and military commissioner Heriberto Valdez Asij, for crimes against humanity, in the form of sexual violence, sexual slavery and domestic slavery of the 11 q’eqchi women and the assassination of one woman and her two young daughters, as well as cruel and humiliating treatment of the two girls. These and other war crimes under the rules of international law are NOT eligible for amnesty and should be judged.
This accusation is undoubtedly an important achievement in the search for justice for women in Guatemala and in the world. However, this and other important developments in transitional justice in our country are at serious risk from the pact of impunity backed by the Constitutional Court in its recent decision to throw out the injunctions filed by various civil society organizations. These organizations questioned, at various times and with solid arguments, the criteria applied by the Nominating Commission for the election of judges to the Supreme Court. We deplore the decision of the judges of the Constitutional Court who, in violation of domestic law and international standards of judicial independence, have dealt a treacherous blow to the aspirations of justice of Guatemalan society, particularly to women and girls from different social conditions and ethnic backgrounds.
This November 25 we demand an end to the criminalization of women leaders around the country who defend life and territory and therefore are persecuted and even imprisoned. In particular, we salute Barbara Diaz Surin, defender of territory in San Juan Sacatepequez and demand her immediate release.
We salute all women in the same municipality who live under the “State of Prevention” imposed by the government, and have reported numerous violations of their human and civil rights. We stand alongside them and alongside all women in resistance throughout the country and the continent, and demand an end to violence against our bodies and in our territories.
We claim the right to justice for women of all ages, victims of violence in all its dimensions. We demand that the different branches of government act in accordance with national and international commitments signed by Guatemala in favor of women.
Today, more than ever, we women remember, we reclaim our history and we affirm that we will not turn back. Today more than ever: No to Oblivion. No to Silence. No to Impunity.
Photo: Alianza Rompiendo el Silencio y la Impunidad