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Guatemala should take steps to protect children's rights advocates, Human Rights Watch urged in a letter sent to President Alfonso Portillo Cabrera today.

In the letter, Human Rights Watch requested a full investigation into a series of attacks and threats against Héctor Dionicio Godínez, coordinator of the Legal Assistance Program of Casa Alianza's Guatemala office.

"The government should ensure the safety of Mr. Dionicio and other human rights defenders in Guatemala," said Michael Bochenek, counsel for the Children's Rights Division of Human Rights Watch. "Guatemalan authorities should also undertake an immediate investigation into the troubling pattern of attacks against Casa Alianza's office."

Dionicio has been attacked twice in the last month by unidentified men, receiving threatening telephone calls on each occasion. His office was ransacked in April. Casa Alianza, the Latin American branch of Covenant House, has brought numerous cases against police officers and other government officials, accusing them of abuses against street children.

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