September 27, 2019
THE UNDERSIGNED ORGANIZATIONS condemn the raid on the facilities of Community Radio Xyaab ’Tz’ultaqa in Estor, Izabal, Guatemala, on September 26, 2019, by the Public Ministry and the National Civil Police, taking advantage of the state of siege.
The raid on Radio Xyaab´ Tz’ultaqa demonstrates the abuse of state power by the Public Ministry by violating due process, freedom of expression, historical discrimination against Indigenous peoples who claim their rights.
In Guatemala, there are no guarantees to exercise freedom of expression, the Guatemalan Constitution, the American Convention of Human Rights, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ILO Convention 169, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, among others, are violated on a daily basis.
We clarify that community broadcasters do not have a license due to the failure of the State of Guatemala to provide radio frequencies to Indigenous Peoples, which were commitments made in the Peace Accords in 1996 and in the international law protecting and guaranteeing freedom of expression. Radio Xyaab ’Tz’ultaqa, belongs to the people of Estor and is not owned by any person, ancestral authorities, civil society organizations, academics, artists, women, youth, and children converge.
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has reiterated on several occasions that the responses that establish penal sanctions are burdensome for freedom of expression.
Given the foregoing, we demand from the State of Guatemala:
1. That the Public Prosecutor's Office cease the break-ins against community radio stations, for lacking a legal basis.
2. Comply with the recommendations of the Rapporteurs for Freedom of Expression of the OAS and the UN.
3. To the Human Rights Procurator, verify and pronounce against this violation.
To the Rapporteurs on Freedom of Expression of the UN and the OAS, and the human rights mechanisms, to pronounce themselves before the constant intimidation, harassment and persecution that are taking place lately against community radio stations.