Juana Ramírez Santiago

Juana Ramírez Santiago, a midwife and founding member of the Ixil Women’s Network (Red de Mujeres Ixiles) was killed during an armed attack while she was walking on a street in Quiché, Guatemala. “When someone murders a woman who helps give life, like a midwife, they deny hope and destroy the voices of those who bet on a better future,” said Liliana Valiña, representative of the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Oxfam made a similar statement: “to take the life of a defender is to steal light and hope from us all.”

Guatemala’s Human Rights Ombudsman, Jordán Rodas, condemned the crime and demanded a prompt investigation from the authorities. He also urged the Ministry of the Interior to develop a protection program for human rights defenders.

Pedro Chel Bernal, husband of the deceased, reported that he works as a watchman in a hardware store and every evening his wife brought him dinner around 7:00 pm. On the night of her murder, Juana called to let him know she was on her way with the food, but two hours later she still had not arrived. “When I would try to check in, the phone was always off,” he said. Juana was attacked by unidentified assailants who shot her four times.


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Region:Americas

Country:Guatemala

Department/Province/State:El Quiche

Sex1:Female

Date of Killing:21/09/2018

Previous Threats:No information

Type of Work:Doctor

Organisation:Red de Mujeres Ixiles | Ixil Women's Network

Sector or Type of Rights the HRD Worked On:ESC Rights

Sector Detail:Indigenous People’s Rights, Right to Health, Sexual and Reproductive Rights

More information:Front Line Defenders

1This database records an individual's chosen gender identity. If they do not self-identify as male or female they can use the option of recording other/neither or use the term NBGI (non binary gender identity).