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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Guatemala Human Rights Commission USA

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: International, International Human Rights

Mission: Founded in 1982, GHRC is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting human rights in Guatemala by documenting abuses, educating the international community, mobilizing our grassroots base and advocating for just policies. GHRC supports Guatemalan communities and human rights defenders who face threats and violence due to their work to promote positive, systemic change.

Results: In 2012 we: - Delivered over 2,200 petition signatures to the Guatemalan government requesting food aid and other support for the 800 indigenous families evicted in the Polochic Valley. As a result of this petition as well as GHRC’s ongoing support with their case before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the families received six deliveries of food and have been promised land. - Created an online action to email US Members of Congress, asking them to maintain the ban on US funding to the Guatemalan army. Our supporters sent 2,111 emails and the ban will remain in place for the year. - Provided affidavits in 10 cases of Guatemalans applying for asylum and testified in three more. At least two applicants received asylum based on domestic violence they had suffered in Guatemala and were allowed to remain in the US. The other cases have been postponed. - Coordinated a successful email and call campaign targeting the mining company Kappes, Cassiday & Associates, as well as the Guatemalan Government, calling for an end to attacks on the communities in resistance in San José del Golfo. We accompanied the emails with direct talks with the US Embassy in Guatemala to advocate for dialogue and the full respect of the communities’ right to protest. A tense calm has been maintained since then. - Provided scholarships to 18 children of human rights defenders who have been attacked or killed for their work, enabling them to continue their education. - Led a delegation on women in resistance. On returning to the US, the delegates collected books and arts supplies for organizations they had met with and used their new knowledge to better serve their Guatemalan clients in the US.

Programs: Programs: Advocacy Education Support for Human Rights Defenders Themes: Land and Natural Resources Militarization Women's Rights Truth, Justice and Historical Memory Criminalization and Impunity

Community Stories

48 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Pierre L.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Guatemala Human Rights Commission is a trusted source for in-depth information and analysis concerning the ongoing human rights crisis and struggle for justice in Guatemala. I strongly recommend it to anyone in the human rights/social justice and Latin American Studies fields.

Sara76

Donor

Rating: 5

I first became involved with GHRC as an intern and have continued to remain involved as a donor. This is an amazing organization working hard to fight for human rights in Guatemala. Resources are well used to continue to effectively fight and educate the global community of the genocide, among other things, that has occurred in Guatemala.

Tristan S.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been involved with social science research in Guatemala for nine years now, and in my experience GHRC has proven itself to be one of the most upright and dedicated nonprofits in the country - and does so on a much smaller budget than most nonprofits. I highly recommend them for those interested in accompaniment of human rights defenders in Guatemala.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Since I have known about GHRC only a few month ago, through FaceBook or CDHL don't remember, I have been an ardent supporter because they are very efficient, to the point, and good communicators: It is thanks to them that I was able to sum up and organize all the information about the Genocide trial (I am so far away from Guatemala that it became quite hard to understand what finally was happening – some kind of a terrible farce anyhow...) They support causes that I know are essential to the country. And I do wish they can go on with their tremendous work

Sammi L.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The GHRC is an extremely effective organization that, despite its small size, makes a huge impact on the human rights situation in Guatemala. I had the opportunity to participate in a delegation with them in January, and I was astounded by the dedication they had towards their work. And not only were they extremely knowledgable on the issues that Guatemala currently faces, they had the respect of the communities and organizations that we visited, evidence of their positive presence and hard work there. I will continue to support the GHRC as much as I am able to, and believe wholeheartedly in the work that they do in Guatemala.

1 Jacqui L.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I still wear a piece of blue and yellow string wrapped around my wrist as a memory from my last trip to Guatemala with the GHRC. I've been on two delegations they help organize, and their work and relationships with the victims of the Internal Armed Conflict, and other communities in resistence is evident. The staff members were welcomed by community members as old friends, a sign that what the GHRC is doing is well received and important.
Their listserv and quarterly publications are also informative and encourage the general public to get involved with simple urgent action calls and letter writing campaigns that everyone and anyone can help with.

Donor

Rating: 5

After I returned from visiting Guatemala, I wanted to support an organization that was doing work to promote peace, justice and equality in the country. Since becoming involved with GHRC, I have been extremely impressed with its hands-on work, as well as its push to inform and involve more people in the issues facing the people of Guatemala.


General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The GHRC is an amazing and unique organization that has forged meaningful relationships with victimized communities and those fighting for human rights in Guatemala. They do not shy away from tough issues, and stand at the front lines of communities in resistance. Through my experience on two GHRC-led delegations, I have seen first-hand how the organization plays an integral role in the human rights community in Guatemala, using their model of solidarity to complement and elevate the work of local actors. The GHRC has also activated and engaged a large community in the U.S. of people in solidarity with Guatemala, and for me they are one of my main sources for information and opportunities for action.

Mike74

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

While some organizations stepped back from advocacy in Guatemala following the signing of peace accords and end of the civil war in the 1990's, GHRC has remained constant and steadfast in its commitment to justice and social progress. I was an election observer in 1995 and have continued in health and development work there, and the persistent and increasing threats to the fabric of civil society has shown their vision to be correct, and the need for their important advocacy remains great. They are a small organization that does very effective work.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

GHRC is a small NGO making a big impact in Guatemala. I have been volunteering with GHRC for some years now, and I am humbled by the amazing work they do on an everyday basis on the ground for human rights in Guatemala.

Review from JustGive

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful organization staffed by extremely hard-working and effective people. Small in size but large in heart, GHRC has helped save countless lives over the past thirty years, beginning with helping refugees from the war in Guatemala resettle and/or move on to seek political asylum in other countries. Bringing the truth to light during a time when no mainstream US media were covering the massacres in Guatemala--and helping to end US military aid to Guatemala--was important work. The group's work continues now, offering help to human rights defenders who are being threatened by forces wishing to maintain the status quo; helping end violence against women, which has spiraled frighteningly in recent years; and helping Guatemalans in the US live with full respect for their rights. The organization has brought hope, help, and healing to many.

Jeff A.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This nonprofit is doing extremely important work to uncover the truth and bring closure and justice to Guatemala. As a resident of Guatemala for a total of 8 years, some of these during horrible times, and most recently a year ago, I know that the wounds are still fresh for thousands and thousands of families who lost loved ones. The work of GHRC is done with the highest professional standards. It is painstaking work, done lovingly by a team of brilliant, dedicated people who truly believe in this cause. I follow their progress in the news from Guatemala and from an ex-colleague that works there. It is profoundly important and I am heartened by the progress they are making.

Sandy31

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I just returned from a vist to Guatemala with the GHRC. This visit gave me an opportunity to visit with many different communities and learn more about the history and life of the people of Guatemala. The focus of this delegation was Women in Resistance - and to that end we met with many different organizations of women who are standing up for themselves and for many other men, women and children. I first learned about the GHRC at an Ecumenical Advocacy Days event in Washington, DC and I have been very interested in the work they do in Guatemala primarily because I serve a congregation that has many families from Guatemala. I am so thankful to have had this opportunity to learn more and to be able to share so much more with the Guatemaltecas in the congregation. Thank you so much.

Courtney18

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Traveling with the Guatemala Human Rights Commission on a recent delegation was a peak experience on all levels. Through their dedicated work there, they have built up so much trust, with so many communities and activists; and as a result our experience was much deeper and more profound than I ever could have imagined. They have earned respect there from the people they serve as well as at the U.S. Embassy where our presence was welcomed and obviously prepped for. Guatemala seems to always be balancing on the edge of tragedy and reform and I hope GHRC can always be around to help tip the scales towards justice.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I participated in the Guatemalan Human Rights Commission annual delegation in August 2012. The organization of the delegation and the speakers we met were exceptional and far exceeded my expectations. We meet incredible people who inspired me to further my education with a regional focus. Furthermore, the directors were remarkably knowledgeable and prepared, which encouraged me to follow their line of work. I recommend GHRC to all of those interested in Guatemala, but also to those interested in human rights, labor movements, indigenous movements, gender equality, political economy, and social and economic justice.

Alma C.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This past August I participated in the GHRC delegation focusing on Women's rights to life, body, and mother earth. The delegation exceeded my expectations. I first came across the organization over two years ago when I began my research on Femicides and Impunity in Guatemala. I found their original coverage and reports to be especially helpful. I am thrilled that I had the opportunity to experience Guatemala along side with the GHRC. Kudos!

Kathleen22

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a teacher who spent two years in Guatemala, I signed on to GHRC-USA's 2008 delegation with high hopes of learning more about a country I had grown to love. The trip with the delegation far exceeded my expectations. Our facilitators were gracious experts who led productive meetings with government officials, activists, women's and survivors' groups. In some ways, I learned more about Guatemala and its people in that one trip than I had in my two years living and teaching in the city. Most importantly, the people we spoke with and the deep thinking that we did about social justice on the trip helped me to re-commit to social justice work and to carry the message of Guatemalans seeking peace and justice back to my community in the United States.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

GHRC has consistently provided in-depth research on pressing human rights issues in Guatemala and cultivated the growth of a worldwide community of individuals and organizations committed to speaking out against egregious human rights violations in Guatemala. Their work is of high caliber, their staff is professional and dedicated and their information is consistently reliable and informative. Kudos to the GHRC staff and Board for your courageous work to expose human rights offenders, protect those who speak out against violations and share your passionate belief that a more just Guatemala is possible.

Ilyse K.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Guatemala Human Rights Commission USA (GHRC) offers a variety of programs that work in solidarity with Guatemalans for positive systemic change. One such program is GHRC's Speaker's Tour, which enables Guatemalan human rights defenders, journalists, land rights activists, and women's rights advocates to share their experiences in forums throughout the United States. From listening to the 2011 Fall Speaker's Tour, where Mayan activist Maria Choc shared how a mining corporation brutalized her community, my spark of interest in Guatemalan human rights evolved into a fervent commitment. Important to this commitment is staying abreast of current events, and GHRC shares up-to-date information through print and electronic resources—the news publication “El Quetzal” and the GHRC Blog. GHRC also publishes timely Action Alerts, which notify people how they can sign petitions to support human rights defenders and/or denounce harmful policies. Furthermore, my recent participation in GHRC's 2012 delegation to Guatemala, provided a life-changing opportunity to meet Guatemalans and learn about their land rights and women's rights struggles. From my participation on the delegation and attendance at many GHRC events in the United States, I have witnessed how staff bridge the capitals in two countries—Washington, DC and Guatemala City—with expertise in policies affecting Guatemala and empathy for the people these policies impact.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

The US has had a major impact on Guatemala's history, usually a negative one. In 1954 we overthrew the democratically elected government of Jacobo Arbenz. This led to a bloody civil war that lasted officially until 1999 and resulted in a bloody genocidal war against the Indian population in the highlands. The fallout from this war continues to haunt Guatemala today. The Guatemalan Human Right Commission is really unique in its courageous defense of human rights in Guatemala. This is dangerous work and it goes against the grain of US foreign policy. Most US efforts to help Guatemala provide some form of charity which - in my view - just perpetuates Guatemala's dependence. The Commission has helped Guatemalans get their story out to the larger world through their publications and speaking tours. They have organized to prevent the Guatemalan military (closely allied with drug traffickers) from getting US military aid, and they have provided direct solidarity to many human rights activists.