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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCTOBER 21, 2003
5:52 PM
CONTACT:  MADRE
Mónica Alemán, Latin America Program Coordinator 212.627.0444
MADRE Condemns Violence Surrounding November 2003 Elections in Guatemala
 
NEW YORK - October 21 - MADRE, an international women’s human rights organization, condemns the political violence that has seized Guatemala during this critical election year. In anticipation of the general elections on November 9, 2003, Guatemala has been submerged in overwhelming political violence characterized by persecution of and threats against journalists and members of social and human rights organizations. This violence includes acts of aggression committed by right-wing agitators against Nobel Prize winner Rigoberta Menchú Tum on October 9 of this year in the Constitutional Court in full view of police officers who did nothing to intervene.

MADRE also denounces the unconstitutional presidential candidacy of the general and former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt of the Guatemalan Republican Front, and the acts of violence and intimidation carried out by his followers and sympathizers in recent months. These acts undermine democratic processes in Guatemala including the coming national elections and the peace process initiated in 1996.

MADRE calls on the Guatemalan authorities to fulfill their obligations to human rights workers, as laid out in the UN Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted in December 1998, and in resolutions by the Organization of American States.

MADRE demands that the Guatemalan authorities assume responsibility for the violent political atmosphere in Guatemala and ensure that the electoral process and the transition of office is carried out democratically, in accordance with the constitution.

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