The following is a statement made by the Departmental Assembly of the Peoples of Huehuetenango (ADH) on the International Day of Indigenous Peoples. For the original statement by the ADH, click here. Translation by NISGUA.
The Departmental Assembly of the Peoples of Huehuetenango (ADH)
August 12, 2016
To mark the International Day of Indigenous Peoples, the Maya and Mestizo peoples who live in the 33 municipalities of the department of Huehuetenango, in the communities and villages, the men and women, adults, youth, boys and girls, and the respective ancestral, community, municipal, and religious authorities, express before the departmental and national authorities, national and international public opinion, and to the Peoples of the world:
FIRST: Since the Spanish invasion in 1524 we, the peoples of Huehuetenango, have lived through violence that we have resisted. This violence has prohibited us from creating the conditions for our own development rooted in the cosmovision and philosophy of our peoples. We have been dispossessed of our lands and ways of seeing the world, of our culture, our mountains, our rivers, and our forests. Right now, we are facing the threats of extractive projects like mining and hydroelectric dams that threaten the water – the sacred and essential liquid that preserves life.
SECOND: The Peace Accords were signed in our country 20 years ago, and for us, the Accord on the Identity and Rights of Indigenous Peoples was the most important. In it, it outlines mechanisms and spaces for the participation of our peoples in community spaces, within local power, and democratic life in the country.
THIRD: To the present day, the State of Guatemala continues to be patriarchal, monocultural, monolingual, corrupt, and racist. It continues to be led by a small group of traditional and emerging elites who are allied with military and organized crime structures that are looting the country. In the proposals we have made over the past 60 years for our Peoples, we have underscored the need for better conditions that allow them to exercise their rights, where life is respected, and they can defend the common interests in our territories.
FOUR: The conflict generated over the past 11 years from granting mining and hydroelectric concessions in our territories by the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources and by the Ministry of Energy and Mines, without prior consultation with our peoples, has led to the political persecution, criminalization, and political imprisonment of defenders of Life and Territory.