Rigoberta Menchú Tum- Guatemala 1959-

Over Rigoberta Menchu
Menchu is als Maya voornamelijk actief als voorvechtster voor de rechten van inheemse Guatemalteekse groepen en won in 1992 de Nobelprijs voor de Vrede. Rigoberta Menchú werd geboren in een familie van K’iche’-Maya’s uit het westen van het land. De familie was actief in verschillende oppositiebewegingen; haar vader werd door het leger gearresteerd en gemarteld omdat hij guerrillabewegingen gesteund zou hebben en kwam in 1980 uiteindelijk om het leven toen de Spaanse ambassade door militairen in brand werd gestoken. Ook de moeder en een broer van Menchú werden door de autoriteiten vermoord.

In 1982 ontvluchtte Menchú het land naar Mexico, waar ze een jaar later haar autobiografie, Yo, Rigoberta Menchú, publiceerde. Menchú bracht de gruwelijkheden uit de Guatemalteekse burgeroorlog en genocide hiermee onder internationale aandacht. De antropoloog David Stoll stelde later dat het boek onjuistheden bevatte, en dat verschillende zaken die Menchú beweert meegemaakt of waargenomen te hebben zij in werkelijkheid niet meegemaakt kan hebben. Overigens betwist Stoll niet dat de wandaden van leger en andere autoriteiten die Menchú beschrijft hebben plaatsgevonden, maar stelt slechts dat Menchú deze gebeurtenissen niet persoonlijk heeft meegemaakt. In 1996 werd ze benoemd tot Goodwill Ambassadeur voor de UNESCO.

In 1999 klaagde zij in een Spaanse rechtbank Fernando Romeo Lucas García, Ángel Aníbal Guevara, Efraín Ríos Montt en Óscar Humberto Mejía Victores aan wegens genocide. In 2005 vaardigde Spanje een internationaal arrestatiebevel uit tegen de vier. Guatemala heeft voorlopig echter geweigerd hen uit te leveren. Menchú was kandidaat voor Ontmoeting voor Guatemala (EdG) voor de presidentsverkiezingen van september 2007 waar ze 3,05% van de stemmen behaalde.Menchú is lid van de Club van Rome en actief in het bedrijf Farmacias Similares, dat goedkope kopieën van dure medicijnen vervaardigt.

Bron, Wikipedia

About Rigoberta Menchu
Rigoberta Menchú Tum 1959 Guatemala is an indigenous Guatemalan woman, of the K’iche’ ethnic group. Menchú has dedicated her life publicizing the rights of Guatemala’s indigenous peoples during and after the Guatemalan Civil War (1960–1996), and to promote indigenous rights in the country. She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992 and the Prince of Asturias Award in 1998. She is the subject of the testimonial biography I, Rigoberta Menchú (1983) and the author of the autobiographical work, Crossing Borders. Menchú is a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. She has also become a figure in indigenous political parties and ran for President of Guatemala in 2007 and 2011.

Rigoberta Menchú was born to a poor indigenous family of K’iche’ descent near Laj Chimel, a small town in the north-central Guatemalan province of El Quiché. Menchú received a primary-school education as a student at several Catholic boarding schools. After leaving school, she worked as an activist campaigning against human rights violations committed by the Guatemalan armed forces during the country’s civil war, which lasted from 1960 to 1996.

Her father, Vicente Menchú, was a member of the guerrilla movement Guerrilla Army of the Poor and died in 1980 during the Burning of the Spanish Embassy after being captured and tortured for his role in organizing against abusive landowners. In 1981, Rigoberta Menchú was exiled and escaped to Mexico. In 1982, she narrated a book about her life to Venezuelan author and anthropologist Elizabeth Burgos, “Me llamo Rigoberta Menchú y así me nació la conciencia” (My Name is Rigoberta Menchu and this is how my Conscience was Born), which was translated into five other languages including English and French. The book made her an international icon at the time of the ongoing conflict in Guatemala.

Since the Guatemalan Civil War ended, Menchú has campaigned to have members of the Guatemalan political and military establishment tried in Spanish courts. In 1999 she filed a complaint before a court in Spain because prosecutions of crimes committed during the civil war are practically impossible in Guatemala. These attempts stalled as the Spanish courts determined that the plaintiffs had not yet exhausted all possibility of seeking justice through the legal system of Guatemala. On 23 December 2006, Spain called for the extradition from Guatemala of seven former members of Guatemala’s government on charges of genocide and torture. These include former military rulers Efraín Ríos Montt and Óscar Mejía. Spain’s highest court ruled that cases of genocide committed abroad could be judged in Spain, even if no Spanish citizens have been involved. In addition to the deaths of Spanish citizens, the most serious charges include genocide against the Mayan people of Guatemala.

Menchú has become involved in the Indian pharmaceutical industry as president of the company Salud para Todos (“Health for All”) and the company “Farmacias Similares”, with the goal of offering low-cost generic medicines. She served as presidential goodwill ambassador for the 1996 peace accords.

In 2006, Menchú was one of the founders of the Nobel Women’s Initiative along with sister Nobel Peace Laureates Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, Wangari Maathai, Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan Maguire. Six women representing North America and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa decided to bring together their experiences in a united effort for peace with justice and equality. It is the goal of the Nobel Women’s Initiative to help strengthen work being done in support of women’s rights around the world.

She is a member of PeaceJam, an organization whose mission is “to create young leaders committed to positive change in themselves, their communities and the world through the inspiration of Nobel Peace Laureates who pass on the spirit, skills, and wisdom they embody.” She travels around the world speaking to youth through PeaceJam conferences.

Rigoberta Menchú is also a member of the Fondation Chirac’s honour committee,ever since the foundation was launched in 2008 by former French president Jacques Chirac in order to promote world peace.

Source, Wikipedia

  • Guatemalteekse mensenrechten activiste/Guatemalan activist/politician