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Mayan National Congress Declaration: “Mining Licences in Mayan Territory: Yet Another Form of Foreign Invasion”

Jamie Kneen Communications and Outreach Coordinator responsible for: strategic research, social media, and public engagement; our Africa program, environmental assessment, and uranium mining.

DECLARATION: Iximché Junlaju Ajmaq y Kab'laju Noj (November 29 and 30, 2004)

That the mining exploration and exploitation licences granted by the government of Guatemala to transnational corporations have negative effects on the lives of the Guatemalan people, especially on indigenous peoples in social, economic, cultural and spiritual aspects, as well as those related to mother earth.

That the harmful effects that mining activities represent, due to open pit mining and other forms of exploitation, for human and natural life destroy mother nature: forests, sacred sites, crops, rivers, lakes, health, etc.

That mining exploitation claims to bring development to communities, but in reality generates the increase and deepening of extreme poverty, destruction, confrontation between communities and authorities, and human rights violations, especially of women and children.

That the existence of 31 exploitation licences and 135 exploration licences for the mining of metals in 16 departments and 106 municipalities, in which the majority of the population is indigenous, endangers the life of both indigenous and non-indigenous peoples and communities.

That the State of Guatemala has violated Convention 169 of the ILO, especially articles 6, 7 and 15 in regards to prior consultation with indigenous peoples, as well as the Peace Accords and the Constitution of the Republic.

FOR ALL OF THE ABOVE, WE DEMAND:

OF THE STATE:

The categorical cancellation of exploration and exploitation licenses, granted by the Government and the Ministry of Energy and Mines without the prior consent of affected indigenous communities, which were therefore granted illegally given that the Mining Law and respective Regulation were approved after the ratification on Convention 169.

That the identity, territory and rights of indigenous peoples be respected.

The adoption of policies to establish an institutional mechanism of full consultation with indigenous peoples.

The fulfilment of article 46 of the Constitution of the Republic, which refers to the prevalence of international conventions, such as 169, over internal law, such as the case of the mining legislation and its respective regulation.

The establishment of consistent policies and legal provisions that respect the vision of indigenous peoples in relation to mother nature, concerning the management, conservation and administration of natural resources.

Compensation for environmental damages caused to affected communities.

We categorically reject the National Forum on Mining, sponsored by the government in response to the interests of transnational corporations.

OF MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENTS:

That the Mayors and other municipal authorities take sides with the population and refrain from endorsing mining licenses.

The fulfilment of the Municipal Code and municipal Autonomy.

OF THE NATIONAL CONGRESS:

Repeal the Mining Law, its Regulation and other similar legislation.

OF THE SPECIAL ATTORNEY FOR HUMAN RIGHTS:

Verify and condemn the violations of indigenous rights in relation to mining.

OF THE MINING COMPANIES:

Immediate withdrawal from national territory.

Compensate and repair damage to communities caused by mining activities.

OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, ESPECIALLY INDIGENOUS PEOPLES AROUND THE WORLD:

Your solidarity with the struggle of the indigenous peoples of Guatemala.

OF THE LOCAL, NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL MEDIA:

Inform objectively on news related to mining activities.

OF THE INDIGENOUS ORGANIZATIONS OF GUATEMALA:

Unite with the shared struggle and join the actions already begun. We alert communities to be vigilant and informed of mining activities, and call upon them to oppose with legitimate, legal and organized resistance.

PARTICIPATING ORGANIZATIONS:

COORDINACIÓN Y CONVERGENCIA MAYA - WAQIB' KEJ
DEFENSORIA Q'EQCHI'/AEPDI
COORDINADORA NACIONAL INDÍGENA Y CAMPESINA - CONIC
COORDINADORA NACIONAL DE VIUDAS DE GUATEMALA - CONAVIGUA
ENLACE QUICHE
ALIANZA POR LA VIDA Y LA PAZ DE PETEN
CONSEJO DE ORGANIZACIONES MAYAS DE GUATEMALA - COMG
MUNICIPALIDAD SOLOLA
DEFENSORIA MAYA - DEMA
ASCODIMAYA
ACOBA
COMISIÓN CONTRA LA DISCRIMINACIÓN Y RACISMO - CODISRA
COMUNIDAD DE BARRANECHE TOTONICAPÁN
FUNDACIÓN MAYA PARA EL DESARROLLO INTEGRAL - FUMDESI
ASOCIACIÓN INTEGRAL CAMPESINA SIPACAPENSE - ADICS
ASOCIACIÓN TIJONIK
MADRE TIERRA
CONFERENCIA NACIONAL DE MINISTROS DE LA ESPIRITUALIDAD MAYA OXLAJUJ AJPOP
DEFENSORIA INDÍGENA WAXAQIB' NO'J
MOVIMIENTO DE JOVENES MAYAS - MOJOMAYAS
ASOCIACION PARA EL DESARROLLO INTEGRAL MAYA AJCHMOL
COORDINADORA LATINOAMERICANA DE ORGANIZACIONES DEL CAMPO - CLOC
CENTRO DE ACCIÓN LEGAL-AMBIENTAL Y SOCIAL DE GUATEMALA - CALAS
INTRAPAZ / U.R.L.
DERECHOS EN ACCIÓN
VOLUNTARIOS Y OBSERVADORES EXTRANJEROS
COMITÉ DANES DE SOLIDARIDAD CON CENTROAMERICA - CDSC