• Campaigns

Guatemala: Woman threatened for defending rape victim: Norma Cruz (f)

, Index number: AMR 34/012/2009

Guatemalan human rights defender Norma Cruz runs a women's rights organization: she and her colleagues have received death threats because of their work for a girl who has been raped. They are in grave danger.

UA: 258/09 Index: AMR 34/012/2009 Guatemala Date: 25 September 2009
URGENT ACTION
WOMAN THREATENED FOR DEFENDING RAPE VICTIM
Guatemalan human rights defender Norma Cruz runs a women's rights organization: she and her
colleagues have received death threats because of their work for a girl who has been raped. They
are in grave danger.
Norma Cruz is the director of the Guatemala City-based Fundación Sobrevivientes (Survivors Foundation). She
received a telephone death threat on 19 September at around 10.45pm. A man called her on her mobile and left a
message: "I want you to drop the case of [man's name], you've got eight days to drop the case, otherwise you’ll be in
serious trouble, I will give you the head of your daughter or son, you bitch." (quiero que dejes el caso de [nombre de
la persona], tenés ocho días para dejar ese caso, si no te vas a ver en serios problemas, te voy a entregar la cabeza
de tu hija o de tu hijo, perra maldita). The message refers to a case of a girl who had been raped, whom Norma Cruz
has been giving legal advice. Relatives of the girl are known to have been killed for the support they gave her. A man
had rung Fundación Sobrevivientes earlier that day and delivered the same message to a member of staff.
On 14 August at around 8.30am, a dark car with tinted windows had followed Norma Cruz’s daughter's husband. He
called his wife back home, and told her to call the police. A few minutes later, he reached the house and the police
arrived. The same car approached, but sped off when the men inside saw the police. Men have been keeping watch
on the Fundación Sobrevivientes office since at least 26 July.
A man had left two answering machine messages on 14 May, threatening to kill Norma Cruz and her colleagues.
PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Spanish or your own language:
expressing concern for the safety of Norma Cruz, her family and her colleagues at Fundación Sobrevivientes, who
have received death threats because of their work in defence of women's rights;
urging the Human Rights Prosecutor to carry out a swift investigation into these death threats, publish the results
and bring those responsible to justice;
urging the Minister of the Interior to provide them with effective protection in strict accordance with their wishes;
calling on the Minister to approve and implement, as soon as possible, the national protection programme for
human rights defenders;
reminding the authorities that human rights defenders have a right to carry out their activities without any unfair
restrictions or fear of reprisals, as set out in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE DD/MONTH/YEAR TO:
Minister of the Interior
Lic. Raúl Antonio Velásquez Ramos
Ministro de Gobernación
6ª Avenida 13-71, Zona 1,
Ciudad de Guatemala, GUATEMALA
Fax: +502 2413 8658
Salutation: Dear Minister/
Estimado Sr. Ministro
Human Rights Prosecutor
Lic. Aura Marina Mancilla
Fiscalía Especial de Sección de
Derechos Humanos
10a Calle 10-14, Edificio UP, 5to.
Nivel, Zona 1, Guatemala, GUATEMALA
Fax: +502 2230 6043
Salutation: Dear Prosecutor/
Estimada Sra. Fiscal
And copies to:
Fundación Sobrevivientes
12 calle 11-63, Zona 1
Ciudad de Guatemala, GUATEMALA
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above
date.
Date: 25 September 2009
URGENT ACTION
WOMAN THREATENED FOR DEFENDING RAPE VICTIM
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Norma Cruz and her team provide a wide range of services to women who suffer acts of violence. They run a crisis centre for
victims of sexual violence and they offer their support for those who are brave enough to take action through the courts, to bring
those responsible to justice. Norma Cruz also campaigns for justice with the relatives of murdered women. Guatemala has seen a
notable increase in the number of women killed over the last decade, and the state has largely failed to provide effective
protection to those at risk. In the vast majority of cases, nobody is brought to justice, and many prosecutors have tended simply
to blame the victim.
Norma Cruz has suffered attacks before, both against her directly and against those close to her. A relative of hers was abducted
on 19 October 2008, and later released. The same relative received death threats four days later (see UA 296/08, 28 October
2008, AMR 34/022/2008).
Scores of attacks against human rights defenders are reported every year in Guatemala. Many of them suffer death threats and
other acts of intimidation, in an attempt to stop them from carrying out their legitimate work; others are killed. By and large,
nobody is brought to justice for these crimes and the Minister of the Interior is yet to approve and put in practice a national
protection programme for human rights defenders, which was finalised earlier this year.
UA: 258/09 Index: AMR 34/012/2009 Issue Date: 25 September 2009

Choose a language to view report