August 16, 2016
The ICJ said today that the attack on Ramón Cadena, its director in Central America, is deplorable evidence that human rights lawyers in Guatemala cannot carry out their activities without fear of reprisal.
Around a dozen armed men ransacked Ramón Cadena’s house in Guatemala City on Monday morning while he was attending a workshop elsewhere in the country.
The ICJ regional director for Central America is the latest victim of a recent wave of harassment and intimidation against human rights defenders and legal and environmental activists in Guatemala and neighboring Honduras.
“The ICJ strongly condemns the attack against Ramón Cadena, which is most likely linked to his activities as a human rights lawyer,” said Wilder Tayler, ICJ Secretary General.
Ramón Cadena, a highly prominent human rights lawyer in the region, was a key witness in the trial of former President Efrain Rios Montt for his role in the alleged genocide and other atrocities committed during the civil war of the 1970s and 80s.
Ramón Cadena has also been providing legal advice and support (on behalf of the ICJ) to the communities fighting against mining projects in Guatemala.
“We urge the Guatemalan authorities to provide the much needed protection to Ramón Cadena and promptly and thoroughly investigate the attack to find the culprits. They must also combat the increasing threats and growing insecurity faced by human rights defenders in the country, which is a clear assault on human rights,” Tayler added.