Tuesday, December 20, 2011

International Civil Society Organizations Call for Justice for the Murder of Adolfo Ich Chaman

Guatemala City, Guatemala – Tuesday, December 13, 2011 – 27 organizations and networks from Europe and North America have signed on to a letter calling on the Guatemalan government to fully investigate the murder of Adolfo Ich Chaman in El Estor, Guatemala. He was reportedly killed on September 27, 2009 by private security employed by Compañía Guatemalteca de Níquel (CGN).

The organizations, based in numerous countries including Canada, USA, Austria and France, also specifically ask that the Guatemalan government carry out the arrest warrant for Mynor Padilla Gonzales, who reportedly shot Adolfo Ich Chaman in the neck. The warrant was issued shortly after the murder but no action has been taken. Earlier this year, company officials confirmed that Mr. Padilla Gonzales continued to be on paid leave from his work as head of security for CGN. At the time of the incident, CGN was a subsidiary of the Canadian company HudBay Minerals Inc., which sold its interest in the Fenix Project in September 2011 to Russian-owned Solway Investment Group.

Adolfo Ich Chaman was a respected Maya Q'eqchi' community leader and an open critic of human rights violations and environmental damage caused by corporate mining activities in his community particularly in relation to the Fenix mining project. Jackie McVicar, of the Canadian-based Breaking the Silence Network, noted, "We are very concerned with the lack of advancement in this case. It’s been two years since Adolfo Ich was killed, and there has been no justice for his murder."

The open letter asking for a criminal investigation in Guatemala follows a lawsuit that was launched last year in Canadian courts by Mr. Ich Chaman’s widow, Angelica Choc, against HudBay Minerals for the murder of her husband. In December 2010, Ms. Choc announced that she is suing Hudbay Minerals and its subsidiaries in Canadian courts to seek reparations for the death of her husband.

The organizations who have signed on to this letter express solidarity and concern for the safety of the family of Mr. Adolfo Ich Chaman. They also express solidarity with the Maya Q'eqchi' community of El Estor and all those human rights defenders who defend their land, land rights, and the rights of Indigenous Peoples.