August 3, 2011—The delegates at the II Conference against Impunity in Guatemala, convened by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and its Guatemalan affiliates and held July 21-22 in Guatemala City, have condemned and expressed grave concern at the killings of two women, members of the national front for the defense of public services and natural resources, FNL, who have paid with their lives for their outstanding commitment to the fight waged alongside the Guatemalan people.
||Detail from the poster for the II Conference against Impunity. Two women union activists were murdered as the conference began. Poster by ITUC-TUCA
Lesbia Elías Xurup, a member of Comunidades en Resistencia contra Unión FENOSA, fighting against the energy group’s abuses, was savagely hacked to death by machetes at her home in Comunidad de La Selva, Santo Domingo, Suchitepéquez, on July 21. The assassins went directly to her home and, not content with killing her, chopped off one of her hands.
María Santos Mejía, secretary of the independent maquilas union Sindicato de Maquilas Independientes, was shot in the head several times by assailants on a motorbike. She leaves orphaned her four children and four-month-old baby.
In a letter to President Colom, the ITUC urged him to take every step necessary to bring an end to the constant murders and violations of the rights of working people. "It is essential that the Guatemalan government take urgent measures to guarantee the full exercise of human, labor, and trade union rights in the country and to end the murders of trade unionists and women trade unionists," insisted ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.
The conference adopted a statement bringing together a series of demands calling on the government to stop the incessant violations of workers’ fundamental rights, including the right to life, to end impunity and the femicide plaguing the country, to strengthen the judiciary, etc.
Cross-posted from ITUC Online, August 3, 2011
Declaration from the II International Conference against Impunity in Guatemala for the respect of human, labor, and trade union rights