Maya Q'eqchi' bring mining fight to Washington, D.C.
Leaders seeking international intervention to protect their lands and communities
March 8, 2013
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Leaders from Agua Caliente, a community of Maya Q’eqchi’ Indians from Guatemala, are in Washington, D.C., to raise international awareness about a harmful nickel mine planned in their indigenous territories. Community leader Rodrigo Tot has been on the front lines of a legal effort to stop the mine. Because of his efforts, his life and the lives of his legal team are under a serious threat. In October 2012, Tot’s son was murdered. His death is believed to be retribution for the family’s public opposition to the mine.
|WHAT:||Delegates from the Agua Caliente community will be meeting with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, US Government officials and non-governmental organizations throughout the week.|
|WHO:||Rodrigo Tot, President of Agua Caliente; Carlos Pop, Local Counsel; Manuel Xo Cu and Romel Reyes from Defensoría Q’eqchi’; Armstrong Wiggins and Leonardo Crippa from the Indian Law Resource Center|
|WHEN:||March 11-15, 2013, journalists are invited to meet with the delegation and/or attend one of the various events planned throughout the week.|
|WHERE:||Contact Lorena Vaca for the delegation schedule and to arrange interviews.|
|WHY:||The mining company, Compania Guatelmateca de Niquel, a subsidiary of the Solway Investment Group, is using threats and violence against Agua Caliente and surrounding communities. Guatemala granted permission for the mine without consulting with the communities most affected. The Indian Law Resource Center, after exhausting domestic remedies, has filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights concerning the violation of the community’s rights to property, self-government, due process of law, and judicial protection by the government of Guatemala.|
About the Maya Q’eqchi’ delegation
The delegation of Maya Q’eqchi’ community leaders and advocates have brought their fight to Washington, D.C., to inform the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, U.S. government officials, human rights organizations, and others about their daily struggle to protect their human rights against mining interests. They hope to build alliances with key actors that can apply pressure to the Guatemalan government to respect their rights and promote policies that protect the environment and prevent harm to indigenous peoples. The delegation also wants to inform and help others working in Guatemala understand the fundamental legal principles of the 2011 Constitutional Court decision and how they can use it in their work. In order to effect change in Guatemala and adequately support indigenous peoples’ efforts to protect their rights to land, right of self- determination, and self-government rights, we must pursue collective action.
About the Indian Law Resource Center
The Indian Law Resource Center is a non-proﬁt law and advocacy organization established and directed by American Indians. The Center is based in Helena, Montana and also has an office in Washington, DC. We provide legal assistance to Indian and Alaska Native nations who are working to protect their lands, resources, human rights, environment and cultural heritage. Our principal goal is the preservation and well-being of Indian and other Native nations and tribes.