Originally published in The Commons issue #395 (Wednesday, February 15, 2017). This story appeared on page 0.
SAXTONS RIVER—The state of human rights in Guatemala will be “on the menu” at the Human Rights Café, which welcomes Laila Hamdan on Saturday, Feb. 18, from 9 to 11 a.m., at Christ’s Church, 24 Main St.
The Café is a new project of Saxtons River Community Building, welcoming all ages every Saturday morning with coffee and snacks.
Hamdan recently returned from Guatemala, where she spent six months as a human rights accompanier with the Network in Solidarity with the People of Gautemala’s Guatemala Accompaniment Project. She was sponsored by a local committee, the NH-VT Guatemala Accompaniment Project, and by a church in Needham, Mass.
During her six months in Guatemala, Hamdan and other accompaniers were requested to be present with communities seeking to regain their rights to lands they and their families had fled during the conflicts of the 1980s. She also supported the ongoing work of the survivors and witnesses to the genocidal violence who are bringing its perpetrators to trial for their crimes.
For the past 20 years, accompaniers sponsored by the NH-VT Guatemala Accompaniment Project have supported returned communities, court witnesses in the genocide cases, environmental activists, and others at risk, upon their request.
With members and supporters in southeast Vermont and southwest New Hampshire, the Project is one of several groups throughout the U.S. supporting such work in Guatemala. For more information, visit nisgua.org.
Hamdan will be in the area through Feb. 23, speaking at schools, colleges, churches, and other organizations. She earned a bachelor’s with honors in women’s and gender studies from Eastern Michigan University. A Palestinian-American, she has been active in women’s rights, Palestinian rights, and solidarity with El Salvador.
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