Guatemala-new Eviction Order This Month For Indigenous Q'eqchi' CommunitiesPublished by MAC on 2007-08-01
1st August 2007
NEW EVICTION ORDER THIS MONTH FOR INDIGENOUS Q'EQCHI' COMMUNITIES AFFECTED BY SKYE RESOURCES' FENIX NICKEL PROJECT
Rights Action recently led an educational and activist delegation to Guatemala. We took our delegates to the Skye Resources nickel mining affected indigenous communities of eastern Guatemala. The Canadian Pension Plan (amongst many institutional investors) is an investor in Skye.
"...the words of a community leader from Barrio Revolución: "We know that many here say that we are invaders. But we are not invading the land. We are recuperating the land that belongs to us.""
Residents of the Mayan Q'eqchi' community of La Paz (municipality of Panzos, department of Alta Verapaz) are facing yet another eviction, which also threatens neighbouring community Lote 8, along with both Barrio Revolución and Barrio La Unión of the municipality of El Estor, department of Izabal. The eviction order, filed in court case number 1745 in Cobán, was originally scheduled to take place on June 27, 2007; however, due to a substitution of the regional public prosecutor, the eviction has been rescheduled for August. While the judicial system has yet to issue an official notification of the date, local organizations indicate that August 14th is currently being considered.
The requested eviction order is based on the highly contested Cahaboncito Norte land title covering the aforementioned indigenous Q'eqchi' communities who have struggled for decades for the recognition of their ancestral land rights in the region. While the company has repeatedly refused to reveal its purported land documentation to communities, Skye Resources' claim to the land is based on the land rights granted to the International Nickel Company (INCO) by a repressive military dictatorship in the 1960s. Many community members echo the words of a community leader from Barrio Revolución: "We know that many here say that we are invaders. But we are not invading the land. We are recuperating the land that belongs to us."
The previous widely denounced evictions of January 2007 saw hundreds of heavily armed police officers and soldiers surround the communities, while Skye Resources employees dismantled, destroyed and/or burned the homes of hundreds of indigenous Q'eqchi' families in five communities. (Rights Action has extensive information concerning the January 2007 forced and illegal evictions - www.rightsaction.org)
Since January, the communities have continued to rebuild their houses and communities, tend to their crops, and struggle for their ancestral rights to the land. Extremely alarmed at the prospect of the impending order, community leaders have asked for international support for their attempt to halt the evictions. Add your voice to those who are calling on Skye Resources to stop the planned evictions of La Paz and neighbouring communities. Send urgent emails, phone calls and faxes to:
* Ian Austin, CEO, Skye Resources, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel:
604-602-9500, fax: 604-602-9510
* CVRD-INCO, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
* Kenneth Cook, Canadian Ambassador to Guatemala,
GUATEMALAN GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORITIES:
* Lic. Oscar Berger Perdomo, President of the Republic of Guatemala,
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com ,
firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: 502-22383579
* Adela de Torrtebiarte, Minister of the Interior,
* Lic. Juan Luis Florido, Attorney General, email@example.com,
* Dr. Sergio Fernando Morales Alvarado, Guatemalan Human Rights Attorney's
Office (PDH), firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: 502-77755475
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION & BACKGROUND ON PREVIOUS EVICTIONS: