In relation to human rights defenders, both OHCHR and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) have denounced the increase in attacks against them, especially acts of criminalization. In some cases, the attacks are attributed to private companies, mainly palm, hydroelectric and mining companies, which have brought criminal actions against indigenous authorities who defend their territory. PBI was able to observe how in this context women defenders also face harassment and sexual violence on their bodies, violence that is used as a tool of control, not only of their participation in collective spaces for the defense of rights, but also to stop the collective defense of these rights. This information will be disseminated through an article included in the first of PBI's two biannual bulletins planned for this year.
For its part, the Unit for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (UDEFEGUA) has highlighted that the place where the greatest number of attacks against human rights defenders occur are social networks, responding to a strategy that "aims to delegitimize their voice so that they can then be judicially denounced without any basis and carry out arbitrary and illegal detentions".
In the face of these strategies of criminalization of human rights defenders, PBI observed how the complaints by these actors do not prosper and the trials that they lead against those who violate their rights suffer strategies of judicial delay. An example of this during the first half of 2023 was the case of journalist Norma Sancir, who denounced abuse of power by PNC agents against her for the illegal detention she suffered in September 2014, while covering a demonstration of the Ch'orti' people in Chiquimula.Nine years after the events, the first hearing in the case was held in June 2023, after being rescheduled more than eight times.