Human Rights Defenders Protection Unit of Guatemala (UDEFEGUA) was established to help at-risk human rights defenders and their organizations in Guatemala and Central America to prevent and respond to security threats through education, monitoring and mental health support. They also advocate for protection by government institutions and the international community.
Areas of Work
Protection of defenders and WHRDs
Urgent Responses Offered
Urgent appeals, international solidarity and communication strategies
UDEFEGUA sends urgent appeals to international and regional human rights mechanisms and to international non¬governmental organizations (which can decide to issue an appeal based on the information that they sent). However, they only publicize the appeals at the end of the year in the annual report.
Advocacy with regional and international mechanisms
UDEFEGUA regularly submits urgent appeals to the UN SR and other Rapporteurs depending on the nature of the violation. UDEFEGUA also works with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and EU embassies and other institutions.
Legal assistance and trial observation
UDEFEGUA provides support to cover legal fees or identifying pro bono lawyers to work on some cases. It also assists with the development of strategies for the litigation of the cases.
Medical assistance, stress management and psychosocial counseling
UDEFEGUA provides psychosocial counseling support to defenders and WHRDs at risk.
- A psychologist working with the organization provides this support to individuals, organizations or in some cases communities. In some other cases, defenders may be referred to a specialized psychologist
- UDEFEGUA is working on developing a national support network to provide this type of assistance.
Grants and relief programs
UDEFEGUA has developed an emergency relief project for defenders facing imminent risk.
- Beneficiaries include defenders working in rural or semi-urban areas, where defenders are more vulnerable and have less access to the support provided by regional or international organizations.
- Support measures under this program include temporary family relocation, cost of living, transportation, school fees for children, medical expenses, and expenses related to securing offices.
- The project includes covering funeral expenses in cases where defenders and social leaders come from low-income families.
Guatemala and Honduras.
The website is available in Spanish.