Defend Mayan Land
One hour with a lawyer
In recent years, the Guatemalan government has doled out cheap land to mining companies to extract gold and other metals. As many as 300 concessions have been granted and almost all are located either on or next to indigenous people’s land. The mining method used for extraction of metals pollutes rivers and watersheds, and harms the health of humans and farm animals. Efforts to oppose these projects have been met with violence by local police.
Local indigenous communities are demanding that the government secure their consent before allowing mining to proceed. Your gift funds an hour of a lawyer's time to help a community defend their right to land and clean water. Fund grantee Rights Action, a national organization in Guatemala, is helping local Mayan communities file a complaint with the International Labor Organization (ILO), whose Covenant 169, ratified by Guatemala, stipulates that “Indigenous peoples have the right to own, develop, control and use the lands and territories, including the flora and fauna and other resources which they have traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used" and that governments must obtain the “free and informed consent" of indigenous peoples “prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands, territories, and other resources." Working with Guatemalan lawyers, Rights Action will pursue the ILO case and explore other legal options to protect indigenous lands in Guatemala.