Ramón Choc Sacrab was a member of the Mayan Q’eqchi’people and for the last four years he had been receiving death threats because of his human rights work defending the land and environmental rights of his people.
Because of this the section of the Ministerio Público responsible for the Prosecution of Crimes Against human rights defenders (HRDs) had ordered that he be provided with security.
As he was leaving a demonstration on 30 May 2018, in which he had demanded that the death of three peasants be properly investigated, he was intercepted by two men as he was returning to his office in the peasant organisation, Comite Campesino del Altiplano, CCDA. Ramón was attacked with a knife which severed his jugular. He spent a day in the general hospital but he did not survive.
The Ministry of the Interior had failed to provide the security measures for the community leader ordered by the Ministerio Público.. According to CCDA spokesperson Lesbia Artola, the National Civil Police (PNC) in Alta Verapaz had done nothing to implement the order to protect him.
Ramón Chóc Sacrab was a member of the Ixloq San Pedrito community and his killing was just the latest attack on HRDs in the area. On 13 May 2018, Mateo Chamán Pauu and José Can Xol of the CCDA, were also killed. In the departments of Jalapa and Jutiapa, Luis Marroquín, Florencio Pérez Nájera and Alejandro Hernández García members of the Peasant Development Committee, CODECA, were also killed.
The Q’eqchi ‘ people reject the violence of the state and of groups linked with local businessmen against men and women who exercise leadership in the northern part of the country, mainly Q’eqchi’s, Poqomchi’ and mestizo families who live and work on the land, and take care of Mother Earth. The communities are under pressure from major mining and monoculture farming projects that are invading their territory endangering community leaders, HRDs and community journalists who denounce and report on the constant human rights violations committed by these companies.