Wednesday March 19,2014, representatives of the Maya Mam people of Guatemala, part of the Mayan Peoples’ Council (CPO), filed an appeal to the Guatemalan Constitutional Court (CC).

The appeal alleged that the peoples´ right to prior consultation before the approval of the mining license, San José III, had been violated. The State institutions, including the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM), are, by law, required to consult the affected people and have their consent before approving such a license.

The requests being made by the Maya Mam community and the Public Ministry were to have the appeal taken into consideration and to have the Constitutional Court to annulate the mining license. Hence, the right to be consulted was violated.

– There is an obvious violation of our collective right to be consulted as a community, and that is the reason for us being here at the Constitutional Court today. We have made our decision, and it is an outright rejection of all mining exploitation in our territory, said Ermenegildo Robledo, member of the Maya Mam Council of San Jose Ojetenam.

Before concluding the court session, Lucia Xiloj, member of the Legal Commission of CPO said:
– According to the law, the judgment, by the Constitutional Court, has to be emitted within six days, but according to our previous experience the resolutions have been given over six months later. If the CC fails to emit the resolution within the stipulated time limit, we will file a petition alleging it to be a real threat to the people´s right to prior consultation.

CPO is the political articulation of the Mayan people, based on the legitimate and organized Mayan authorities and institutions. CPO articulate the decisions and the direction for political actions in defense of the Mayan people´s territory and in defense of their rights. Priority is given to make sure that international conventions, such as ILO Convention 169 and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, are applied in Guatemala.

by Christin Sandberg