STATEMENT OF THE INTERCULTURAL SOCIAL MOVEMENT OF THE PEOPLE OF IXCÁN BEFORE PUBLIC OPINION
Today, March 22, World Water Day, we express our great concerns about the national and municipal situation.
The situation in the country is complicated for the Guatemalan population, because every day we see injustices committed against communities, violations of Human Rights, attacks against Indigenous communities in their territories, evictions, criminalization, use of force, persecution of human rights defenders, attacks and persecution of honest judges and journalists, violence against women defenders.
Corrupt legislators are passing laws that fail to protect rivers, streams, mountains, nature, biodiversity, native seeds, animals, and minerals. Those laws benefit and allow large companies and the CACIF to appropriate without mercy, and there is not sufficient legislation to regulate this appropriation, exploitation and profit. The advancement of palm plantings for palm oil, an industry that violates human rights because it pollutes the environment, hijacks and kills the rivers, does not comply with labor rights, uses leaders and generates division in the communities.
Corruption, theft, lies, false promises, deceit, the use of authorities, the use of public goods, high salaries authorized by and for officials: these and many other national problems, which have generated a lack of respect, shame, principles and values that those who are involved in these acts do so much damage to society.
In our municipality of Ixcán we see the unjust appropriation of people’s assets, corruption of public officials on the agenda, abandonment of municipal infrastructure such as roads to the communities, the regional hospital, the market, the house of culture, the large water project, the abandonment of the construction of the road to Chicamán, unfinished and unbudgeted community water projects, unfinished municipal street paving, assignment of municipal projects to unqualified or ghost companies, construction companies, in total impunity. Neglect in maintenance of access roads, school buildings in deplorable situations and children studying without buildings or furniture, municipal public policies and regulations shelved without actions, much less budgets, politicization and clientelism in the health and education service; generates little ability for the state to solve problems. The proliferation of canteens and clandestine bars without enforcement measures, pollution of rivers without a sewage treatment, these and more serious problems affect the inhabitants of this municipality.
On the other hand, violence against women continues to increase, accidents due to the consumption of intoxicating beverages continue to take lives, the meddling of municipal authorities in the decisions of the communities generates division and unnecessary conflicts and delays for the communities.
We demand that the municipalities comply with their obligations:
- Follow up on the water project of the 18 communities and ensure that all crimes committed by individuals, companies and instances during the execution of the work do not go unpunished, it is the responsibility of the municipality to ensure the proper use of the town’s resources and not be part of acts of corruption and impunity.
- Guarantee the Human Right to water in the municipality and its communities, taking into account the established parameters: sufficient, healthy, acceptable, physically accessible, and affordable for personal and domestic use.
- Assign a budget to community efforts in relation to water projects and guarantee the entire execution process without leaving projects unfinished or overvalued.
- That the municipality takes steps and complies with the laws to save the “Río Cantabal” according to studies conducted. It is one of the most polluted rivers in the region. So that it does not continue to become a drain, the municipal authorities must comply with their obligations in this matter. Take measures and actions to save the streams in the urban area.
- That the municipality put the treatment plants into operation and take measures towards those who fail to comply to avoid contamination of the “Cantabal River”.
- The proliferation of garbage in different parts of the municipality is worrisome. We have seen that the streets, highways and surroundings turned into garbage dumps without municipal actions or sanctions for those who commit these crimes of contamination. We ask that the municipality fulfill its function of applying measures and coordination for a good environment. Implementation of the classification of garbage for its treatment to no longer contaminate the rivers in the municipality.
- Take measures jointly with merchants, authorities, entities in relation to the use of disposable bags and sanction those who pollute the main roadways and rivers.
- That the municipality fulfill its role of authority to demand that the palm companies not pollute the rivers, nor privatize them, nor contaminate the environment with waste and chemicals and that the company comply with paying its municipal taxes, fulfilling its promises to the communities in relation to offered projects.
- Do not allow the installation of canteens or sales of alcoholic beverages on the banks of the rivers in this Holy Week’s festivities and require vendors not to leave garbage in places of entertainment.
- Do not allow the encroachment of rivers for the establishment of hydroelectric plants. All of this occurs against the expressed will of the communities and the population that have expressed their rejection of such projects, through the good faith community consultation carried out in 2007.
- In this context, women are the most affected. They have been victims of forced displacement from their places of residence and the dispossession of their livelihoods, they face worsening living conditions, health, and exclusion. In many cases, women have been violated in their human right to water, as a result of contamination and/or the diversion of rivers or lack of access to water; women get up early to get water, go farther to wash clothes, and pay for trips to get water.
To the Ministry of Health:
- Ensure the quality of water that arrives in the municipal capital and the communities to avoid problems caused by the poor quality of the vital liquid.
- Take measures and carry out studies in relation to the contamination of the environment and rivers to refer to whom it is appropriate to apply the legal measures and the corresponding sanctions so that the laws in relation to the protection of rivers and the environment are complied with.
To the Public Ministry:
- Follow up on investigations of the lawsuits filed by communities and individuals in relation to crimes that disturb the peace, harmony, and tranquility of the residents of this municipality. Do not tolerate crimes related to water, pollution, corporate abuse, or crimes related to irregular use of funds. Comply with established state laws, but from a position that also takes into account and respects the community coexistence of Indigenous communities and their practices of conflict resolution and their identity and culture.
- Protect the biodiversity of life, the diversity of forests and mountains. Denounce the pollution of rivers and unregulated logging in the municipality.
- Do not allow corporate crimes that violate environmental laws since pollution and logging affects us all.
Municipal Human Rights Ombdusperson:
- Turn rulings and permanent monitoring of violations of the Human Right to water experienced by the population of the municipal capital and communities that are forced to sign the receipt of poor quality works. Constant monitoring of access to water and quality in homes, food consumption centers and educational establishments.
FOR ALL OF THE ABOVE
We ask the leaders, community authorities, social organizations and the general population to remain firm in the defense of natural resources, promote protection mechanisms in communities such as community regulations in relation to water, the protection of biodiversity, protection of river sources, garbage control, non-use of chemicals and no logging of forests. Do not allow divisions in the community that come from external actors with particular or personal interests. Compliance with existing community agreements through peaceful actions, and seeking viable proposals that benefit the community, always respecting the will of the community assembly, the highest authority in the community from our identity and worldview.
QUE VIVAN THE COMMUNITIES IN DEFENSE OF WATER, “QANA CH’OCH’”
WE AS INDIGENOUS PEOPLES ARE SUBJECTS OF RIGHTS AND NOT PARTNERS OF COMPANIES THAT CONTAMINATE AND DISAPPEAR RIVERS.
WE ARE SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF THE EARTH AND WE DEFEND OUR MOTHER EARTH.
WATER IS A COMMON GOOD, NOT A COMMODITY.
WATER IS LIFE AND IS ALIVE, IT SINGS TO US, IT TALKS TO US AND IT GIVES US LIFE.
LOQOLA A´/ Sacred water
Ixcan, march 22, 2023
FOR THE DEFENSE OF LIFE, RIGHTS AND THE TERRITORY!
MOVIMIENTO SOCIAL INTERCULTURAL DEL PUEBLO DE IXCÁN
ZONA UNO, PLAYA GRANDE DE IXCÁN, QUICHÉ
TELÉFONOS: 31133957 y 30365793