Sponsoring Communities take action: UUCA and NISGUA together in Guatemala

One of the pillars of international human rights accompaniment is the backing of a strong and active international network that commits to ongoing education of the international community about the human rights context of those we accompany, monitors the specific situations of those human rights defenders, and is ready to take action during high-risk moments or in the event human rights violations take place. At NISGUA, our entire grassroots base is involved in this important work. Through NISGUA's Guatemala Accompaniment [...]

Land defenders Saúl Méndez and Rogelio Velásquez absolved of all charges but remain in prison

On October 28, 2015, a Quetzaltenango Femicide Tribunal unanimously voted to absolve political prisoners Saúl Méndez and Rogelio Velásquez of the crimes of femicide and homicide. The Tribunal rejected every single witness presented by the prosecution and questioned the political motives behind the Public Prosecutor's decision to begin investigation of a crime three years after it took place. Saúl and Rogelio were convicted on the same charges by a Huehuetenango court in November 2014 and were sentence to 33 years [...]

A report-back on NISGUA’s Rivers for Life Delegation

When Víctor Caal Tzuy came to the U.S. last fall to speak about indigenous peoples’ fight for self-determination in Guatemala, he ended many of his presentations by inviting people to his home to see for themselves how and why more than 50 communities have united in opposition to the Xalalá hydroelectric dam.Last month, NISGUA responded to that invitation by organizing a 10-day delegation to northern Guatemala to visit the communities threatened by the mega-dam.The trip was composed of three main [...]

By | April 14th, 2015|ACODET, delegation, IDB, INDE, indigenous rights, rivers, Xalalá|0 Comments

Uncertainty around the Xalalá Hydroelectric Project

Posted on February 28, 2015 by ACOGUATETranslation by NISGUAOn November 7, 2013, the National Electrification Institute (Instituto Nacional de Electrificación, INDE) signed an Emergency Purchase contract with the Brazilian company Intertechne Consultores, S.A. to conduct the geotechnical, seismic, geological and geophysical feasibility studies for the Xalalá dam, without informing and consulting the affected communities. More than a year later, affected communities organized through the Association of Communities for Development, Defense of Territory and Natural Resources (ACODET) are still waiting for [...]

The Q’eqchi’ and the Duwamish

This article was originally published in Spanish, online at elsalmon.org By Alejandro EcheverríaOctober 13, 2014 Indigenous leaders Víctor Caal Tzuy and Ken WorkmanKen Workman is a Seattle native who despite his tall stature, has characteristics that evoke his famous 19th century ancestor - the indigenous Chief of Seattle (Si'ahl) - who gave this city, which lies in the state of Washington on the Pacific coast of the northern United States, its name. Standing before a large audience at the Duwamish headquarters  [...]

Court rules that Guatemala must recognize results of community consultations

In an historic resolution, a Guatemalan Appeals Court ruled last week that the government must take into account the right to free, prior and informed consent when granting mining licenses on the lands of indigenous communities.The ruling came in response to a legal action presented by the Sipakapense People's Council in March 2014, arguing that the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) failed to consider the results of a 2005 community consultation before granting the "Los Chocoyos" mining license to [...]

Guatemalan Indigenous Organizations File Complaint over Mining Law with Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

Sources: Western Peoples' Council (CPO) - Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA) - MiningWatch Canada – Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)(Guatemala City/Ottawa/Washington) Tuesday, Guatemala's Western Peoples' Council of Mayan organizations (CPO) filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) alleging that the country’s mining law was approved without their prior consultation as required under both national and international law. The IACHR is the last resort for the CPO, which has exhausted all domestic recourse [...]

Declaration of the Second Gathering of the Q’anjob’al Nationalities

On August 21 – 23, leaders and representatives of twenty Maya Q'anjob'al communities in northern Huehuetenango and Chiapas, Mexico, gathered in San Juan Ixcoy, Huehuetenango to discuss the ongoing imposition of large-scale development projects on their territory and to continue generating strategies for unified resistance moving forward. The three day, cross-border event focused on the reconstitution and autonomy of the Q'anjob'al peoples through the strengthening of the cultural, social, economic and political ties that have historically linked indigenous communities in [...]

Guatemalan complainants celebrate effective suspension of Tahoe Resources license

CALAS and the Xinca Parliament announce the suspension of Tahoe Resources' mining license on Wednesday morning. Photo: Prensa Libre(Ottawa/Guatemala City) On Tuesday, the Civil and Mercantile Division of Guatemala’s First Court of Appeals notified the Centre for Environmental and Social Legal Action (CALAS) that it is upholding an appeal associated with Tahoe Resources' production license for the Escobal project. Quelvin Jimenez of the indigenous Xinka Parliament presented the appeal in May with legal support from CALAS, claiming lack of due [...]

Indigenous organizations denounce proposed mining moratorium

In a televised program broadcast from outside Tahoe Resources’ conflictive Escobal mine project, President Otto Pérez Molina announced a proposed two-year moratorium on the granting of new mineral mining licenses. A similar moratorium put in place under the Colom presidency was lifted under the Molina administration, allowing for the issuance of roughly 100 exploration and exploitation licenses during the last year and a half. The President and Minister of Energy and Mines, Erick Archila, took care in assuring the public [...]