Application Deadline: February 28, 2014
Position Start Date: May 1, 2014 in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia
Travel to Guatemala: May 25th, 2014
Six-month minimum, with possibilities for longer-term placements.
Interested candidates should download the application form here, and submit a completed application together with their resume to btsaccompaniment[at]gmail.com no later than February 28th, 2014.
The role of human rights accompaniers:
Accompaniers work as human rights observers, providing an international presence to Guatemalans organizing in defense of their rights in a variety of contexts, including precedent-setting genocide cases and local opposition to transnational resource extraction projects. Accompaniers work in pairs, travel between the capital and an assigned region, share in rural life, observe and report on conditions, monitor the human rights situation and provide a crucial link to the international community. The Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network (BTS) trains volunteers and matches them with BTS Local Committees that support the accompanier’s stay both financially and personally. BTS Accompaniers work with an international team of accompaniers in Guatemala through the ACOGUATE International Human Rights Accompaniment Project.
Candidates should have:
The ability to document and analyze events and conditions in order to produce quality written reports and educational materials
Cultural sensitivity; excellent judgment skills; physical stamina; ability to work flexibly in dynamic, changing situations; resourceful in self-care and relational dynamics
A high level of verbal and written Spanish
A familiarity with the history of Central America and the relationships of both the U.S. and Canada to the area, the current situation in Guatemala, and a basic understanding of human rights/accompaniment
Previous experience in Latin America (especially rural areas) strongly preferred
Awareness of security issues, a willingness to work in a situation which might involve risk, and an interest in individual and team analysis
Two accompaniers will be chosen in early March 2014 and begin training at Tatamagouche Centre on May 1, 2014. The pre-departure orientation at Tatamagouche Centre is from May 1 – May 10. Accompaniers must be in Guatemala on Monday, May 26th, to begin their training with ACOGUATE.
Pre-departure and re-entry training costs at Tatamagouche Centre (travel to Tatamagouche Centre not covered), accommodation and food in Guatemala covered by a small monthly stipend. Accompaniers are responsible for fundraising $1500 to contribute to program costs, although BTS can help accompaniers fundraise this portion of their expenses.
About BTS Accompaniment:
Since the early 1990s, BTS volunteers have participated in an human rights accompaniment program in Guatemala, acting as international observers and witnesses to human rights violations and threats.
The first BTS accompaniers were involved in accompanying the return of refugees to Guatemala during the signing of the peace accords, and today, volunteers accompany a number of human rights organizations and individuals working against impunity and for truth and justice, the defense of territory and natural resources, and labour and union rights.
The people asking for accompaniment are aware of the great risk that they are taking by speaking out about the truth, not as anonymous victims or witnesses, but as public actors with names and faces. International accompaniers act as observers, document any intimidations, threats or acts of violence against those being accompanied, and quickly disseminate that information through their networks at an international level.
Human rights accompaniment can help dissuade violent action and help create a space whereby Guatemalan human rights defenders can work safer.