DJPC’s Colorado/Maya Accompaniment Project of the Sierra (CAMINOS) sponsors human rights observers who accompany witnesses seeking justice in legal cases against former military dictators in Guatemala. Promesa, a program of CAMINOS, is a partnership that seeks to improve overall health and primary care delivery for the isolated rural village of Tesorito, Guatemala, by supporting the community’s own existing health structures, and the local heath workers who serve as volunteers. The CAMINOS Steering Committee oversees these efforts.
Guatemala’s 36-year civil war led to the death and disappearance of more than 200,000 Guatemalan civilians and created hundreds of thousands of refugees and displaced people, most of whom were indigenous Maya. CAMINOS was created in 1996 to respond to a request for human rights observers or accompaniers by the “Communities of Population in Resistance of the Sierra” (CPR-Sierra). The people of the CPR-Sierra are Ixil and K’iche’ Mayas who survived the Guatemalan Army’s “scorched earth campaign” of the 1980s and fled to remote forests and mountains. For 15 years they struggled to survive; many died from army attacks, illness, hunger and exposure. At the end of the war, with the help of international support and human rights accompaniers, the CPRSierra families came out of hiding to establish new communities across the country. An international presence in Guatemala has become even more important since 2000 as courageous survivors brought legal cases to a Guatemalan court. They are charging former military dictators with genocide against the indigenous population.
The witnesses in these cases have formed the Association for Justice and Reconciliation and have requested international accompaniment. CAMINOS has shifted its focus to accompaniment for these witnesses as long as it is necessary. Guatemalans still face the same issues today that were at the root of the armed conflict — widespread poverty, underdevelopment in rural areas, and continued discrimination against the indigenous majority. Justice for victims of human rights abuses committed during the civil war continues to be compromised largely because of a culture of repression and violence that is perpetuated by those in power. Since January 2000, threats, assaults and assassinations have increased against Guatemalan labor unions, peasant and indigenous groups, and other organizations working for justice and human rights.
“We deserve justice. We will continue to struggle until we have it. As long as I’m alive, I will look to that day.” - Jacinta Raymundo, witness in genocide case.
What CAMINOS does
- Provides human rights accompaniers for witnesses testifying in genocide cases.
- Responds to human rights abuses in Guatemala through an Urgent Action Network.
- Facilitates exchanges between people of Guatemala and the US.
- Educates Coloradans and elected representatives about current and historic issues in Guatemala
If you are interested in going to Guatemala with CAMINOS for our mining delegation (February 2011) please download the application here: Delegation application
We are a Guatemala Accompaniment Project (GAP) Sponsoring Community. GAP is a national program of the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA).
If you are interested in learning more about becoming a GAP accompanier click here.