Jan 16, 2010

News from NISGUA

Source: NISGUA

1. JUSTICE & ACCOUNTABILITY

International Court Rules in Favor of Dos Erres Massacre Survivors
Exhumations Held to Find the Disappeared of the Diario Militar
Organizations Call for the Protection of El Jute Witnesses

2. TRADE & GLOBALIZATION
Ixcán Military Base Reopens with 2,000 Soldiers
Letter to the President: State of Siege in San Marcos and Unión Fenosa
Community Leaders ask Canada to Investigate Goldcorp Violations

3. NEWS FROM THE GRASSROOTS
Join us for NISGUA’s 2010 Tour: Mining and Indigenous Rights
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1. JUSTICE & ACCOUNTABILITY

International Court Rules in Favor of Dos Erres Massacre Survivors
In December, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that the Guatemalan state has failed to investigate and provide justice for the 1982 massacre in Dos Erres, in the northern department of Peten. Over 200 people were murdered during the massacre carried out by state security forces. The court ordered the government to pay more than $3 million in reparations to survivors and family members of the victims.

Exhumations Held to Find the Disappeared of the Diario Militar
Beginning on December 11, 2009, organizations and family members participated in the exhumation of a site where hundreds of the disappeared may have been secretly buried during the war. In particular, family members of those listed in the Diario Militar , a military document listing 183 people who were disappeared by state security forces, hoped to find their loved ones. Visit photojournalist James Rodriguez’s site to read more.

Organizations Call for the Protection of El Jute Witnesses
Late on December 3, 2009, the First Sentencing Court in Chiquimula sentenced a retired colonel and 3 former military commissioners to 53 years and 4 months for the forced disappearance and illegal detention of 8 people from the community of El Jute in 1981. The colonel is the highest-ranking military official to be sentenced for a crime committed during the internal armed conflict and the sentence also orders further investigation into the army’s high command at the time. Witnesses have publicly denounced threats received throughout the process and organizations have urged the Guatemalan state to provide adequate protection .

2. TRADE & GLOBALIZATION

Ixcán Military Base Reopens with 2,000 Soldiers
In early December 2009, President Alvaro Colom announced that the military base in the northern region of Ixcan would reopen with 2,000 soldiers. The president, the first to reopen military bases since the signing of the Peace Accords, was quoted as saying, “This is a new army, at the service of humanity.” Proponents argue that the army will provide much-needed security, while opponents have linked the presence to large-scale development projects and the closure of a university branch and health center that had been using the space for operations since it closed.
Letter to President Colom : State of siege in San Marcos and Unión Fenosa On December 15, 2009, the Guatemalan government declared a state of siege in San Marcos . According to the press, the Executive Secretary stated that the decree would “guarantee that more people will pay the debt they have with Unión Fenosa ”. Communities have contested the debt since 2000, when DEOCSA/FENOSA took over the electric distribution network built by the community of San Pabló, municipality of Tacaná, San Marcos.

Community Leaders Ask Canada to Investigate Goldcorp Violations
Ottawa – A coalition of community groups from San Miguel Ixtahuacán, Guatemala filed an OECD complaint with the Canadian government today, requesting an investigation into human rights violations committed by Goldcorp Inc. at the company's Marlin gold mine. "The Marlin mine has divided our town, harassed protesters, and made us afraid for the health of our families," said Sister Maudilia López Cardona with the San Miguel Ixtahuacán Catholic parish and the FREDEMI coalition coordinator (the Front in Defense of San Miguel Ixtahuacán). "Is this economic development? Could Goldcorp do this in Canada?" Click here to listen to full interview.

3. NEWS FROM THE GRASSROOTS

Join us for NISGUA’s 2010 Tour: Mining and Indigenous Rights
In February and March of 2010, NISGUA will be touring the Southwest and West Coast regions of the U.S. with a community leader from the Regional Assembly in the western highland department of Huehuetenango. The Regional Assembly organizes throughout the department, where twenty-seven municipalities have said no to mining through democratically held referendums in indigenous territories.

Contact bridget@nisgua.org for more information and to participate in the tour!

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