Paulina Cruz Ruiz

Source IM Defensoras

At around 8 o’clock Saturday night, September 14, the Maya Achi Ancestral Authority Paulina Cruz Ruiz from Rabinal, Baja Verapaz, was shot and killed at a distance of a hundred meters from her home in the village of Xococ. In the attack, her husband suffered a bullet wound and is still in the hospital.

Paulina Cruz had been extremely active in the processes of community organization and in the March for Dignity held last year and the recent commemoration of Indigenous Peoples. The Achi Ancestral Authorities have also taken legal measures against the mining projects that threaten their territories.

As a result of the murder of Paulina Cruz, the Achi Ancestral Authorities fear for their own lives and security. It is important to underscore the fact that this is the second murder of a defender in Guatemala in a single week.

We of IM-Defensoras and the Network of Women Human Rights Defenders in Guatemala repudiate the murder of Paulina Cruz and express our solidarity with her family and community.

Likewise, we demand that the government of Guatemala promptly conduct an exhaustive investigation of the crime and that it take all necessary measures to guarantee the safety and security of the defender and the Achi Ancestral Authorities.

If you would like to provide a personal recollection, please email us at:



Department/Province/State:Baja Verapaz


Date of Killing:14/09/2019

Previous Threats:Yes

Type of Work:Social protester

Organisation:March for Dignity

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

Sector Detail:Indigenous Peoples' Rights, Land 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).