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.