Tell dam builders in Mexico to respect indigenous rights

  • by: Marcela Gonzalez
  • recipient: Guillermo Padrés Elías, Governor of Sonora, Mexico

The state government of Sonora, Mexico, and various business interests want to build a dam known as Bicentenario en Los Pilares, which would cover an important part of the Guarijío indigenous territory, including an indigenous cemetery.  The Guarijío people have not opposed the dam but have wanted their concerns addressed, including the loss of agricultural territory due to flooding, the loss of their burial grounds, how their children will cross the dam to get to school, and the proliferation of disease-bearing insects due to the stagnant water behind the dam.
The Sonoran government has stopped dialoguing with the communities affected, and community leaders and human rights workers investigating the case have been pressured to support the dam construction, including by receiving death threats.  These developments run counter to universal human rights and the rights of indigenous people enshrined in Article 2 of the Mexican Constitution and the International Labor Organization’s Convention 169. 
We call on the Governor of Sonora to:
·         Respect the rights of the Guarijío indigenous community, including providing community members with full information about plans for the dam and responding to their concerns; 
·         Follow Mexico’s laws regarding the process of developing the dam in an indigenous area; and
·         Ensure the safety of Ramon Martinez Coria, Amrando Haro Encinas and other human rights investigators assisting the indigenous community

For more information (in Spanish), see:

http://valledelmayo.mx/inicio/amenazan-a-investigadores-en-zona-guarijio.html

http://www.animalpolitico.com/blogueros-codices-geek/2013/08/02/amenazan-de-muerte-a-investigadores-en-sonora/#axzz2b18o1RVy

http://app1.semarnat.gob.mx/dgiraDocs/documentos/son/resolutivos/2012/26SO2012HD062.pdf

  

 

Dear Governor,
We, the undersigned, are aware that your government and various business interests want to build a dam known as Bicentenario en Los Pilares, which would cover an important part of the Guarijío indigenous territory, including an indigenous cemetery.  The Guarijío people have not opposed the dam but have wanted their concerns addressed, including the loss of agricultural territory due to flooding, the loss of their burial grounds, how their children will cross the dam to get to school, and the proliferation of disease-bearing insects due to the stagnant water behind the dam. 
We are aware that the Sonoran government has stopped dialoguing with the communities affected, and community leaders and human rights workers investigating the case have been pressured to support the dam construction, including by receiving death threats.  These developments run counter to universal human rights and the rights of indigenous people enshrined in Article 2 of the Mexican Constitution and the International Labor Organization’s Convention 169.  We therefore respectfully call on you to:
·         Respect the rights of the Guarijío indigenous community regarding the Bicentenario en Los Pilares dam, including providing community members with full information about plans for the dam and responding to their concerns;
·         Follow Mexico’s laws regarding the process of developing the dam in an indigenous area; and
·         Ensure the safety of Ramón Martínez Coria, Armando Haro Encinas, and other human rights investigators assisting the indigenous community.

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.    

































































 

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