|“The Council of Ancestral Authorities of the 31 communities of Momostenango welcomes you to the good faith community consultation” (All Photos: NISGUA)|
|In Momostenango, 51,667 people, 99.88%, voted No to mining|
|Two boys show off their inked thumbs – a sign of their participation in the referenda|
Since 2005, nearly a million people in more than 78 municipalities across Guatemala have held community referenda on large-scale development projects.
Despite a clear mandate, neither the government nor the companies have respected community decisions. In response to this systematic and historic exclusion of indigenous people from decision-making processes, the Western Peoples’ Council (CPO) recently filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) for failure to consult with indigenous peoples on projects and policy decisions that impact their territories.
During a September 3 press conference, Lolita Chávez, member of the CPO in representation of the K’iche’ Peoples’ Council, explained indigenous peoples’ opposition to the large-scale development model imposed by the government: “The government says that we are an obstacle to development, but we believe that your laws and your state are an impediment to the path of our people.”
Read NISGUA’s press release: Guatemalan Indigenous Organizations File Complaint over Mining Law with Inter-American Commission on Human Rights