139 International and National Organizations Demand Executive Compliance with the Precautionary Measures MC-260-07139 in Favor of the Maya Mam and Sipacapan People

Guatemala, June 4,  2010

Concerned over the situation of the Mam and Sipacapan people regarding the mining operations of the company Montana Exploradora, North American and European networks that work for the protection of human rights, promote sustainable development, democracy, global justice and solidarity between the Global North and the Global South in their countries of origin, under the mark of the European Union and the United Nations, together with the Council of Western Peoples of Guatemala, present today two open letters to the President of the Republic containing 139 signatures from 107 North American and European organizations and 32 Guatemalan and Latin American countries.

They are asking for immediate compliance with the precautionary measures MC-260-07 of May 20, 2010, issued by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). This measure, designed to guarantee the life and physical integrity of the Maya Mam and Sipacapan communities, constitutes a unique historic opportunity in providing backing from the Inter-American system so that the Guatemalan State can respect international conventions that it has ratified in regards to the rights of indigenous peoples, as well as its own Constitution.

The organizations also reiterate their support for the 2009 Report by the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations of the International Labor Organization (ILO), and urge the President to comply with the conclusions of the Committee. This report recommends that the Guatemalan State suspend mining activities related to the licenses granted to Montana Exploradora, subsidiary of Goldcorp Inc. until they can carry out the necessary studies and prior consultation with affected communities.

Representatives of the Front for the Defense of San Miguel, FREDEMI, and of the Council of Western Peoples, the CPO, expressed their concern over the response of the government and the Human Rights Ombudsman: “The government is ignoring the reality of the affected communities. No one was every consulted in order to obtain their free, prior, and informed consent as indigenous peoples” said Carmen Mejía of FREDEMI. “The CPO rejects the attitude of the government and its institutions who ignore violations of our fundamental rights, coming from a Western vision of law that is racist and exclusionary. It makes a mockery of our dignity, our identity, and our way of life as indigenous peoples” expressed Rolando López of the CPO.

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