Oct 23, 2010

Open Letter To Government Of Guatemala From European Parliament Concerning Marlin Mine And Human Rights Violations Of Maya Peoples

Oct. 22, 2010

Source: Indigenous Peoples Issues 

OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNMENT OF GUATEMALA

 
FROM: MEMBERS OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
 
RE: the precautionary measures granted by the Inter American Commission on Human Rights to communities of the Maya indigenous peoples of the Sipacapa and San Miguel Ixtahuacán Municipalities in the Department of San Marcos, Guatemala
 
Mr. Alvaro Colom
 
President of the Republic of Guatemala
 
We, the undersigned members of the European Parliament, express our concern regarding the information received about the alleged violations of human rights of the Maya peoples (Sipakapense and Mam) of the Sipacapa and San Miguel Ixtahuacán Municipalities in the Department of San Marcos, in the framework of the mining of the Marlin I project and other activities related to the concession granted to the company Goldcorp/Montana Exploradora de Guatemala S.A.
 
These alleged violations led the Inter American Commission of Human Rights (henceforth "the IACHR") to grant precautionary measures for the members of these communities on May 20, 2010. These precautionary measures, which respond to the same concerns we express, aim to avoid serious and irreparable harm to the human rights of these communities.
 
We urge the State of Guatemala to carry out efficient implementation of these measures, which request, interalia:
 
    * "the suspension of mining of the Marlin I project and other activities related to the concession granted [...];
    * adoption of the necessary decontamination measures [...];
    * assurance of [community] members' access to water fit for human consumption;
    * addressing health problems [...];
    * adoption of any other necessary measures to guarantee the life and physical integrity of the members of the 18 aforementioned Maya communities; and
    * planning and implementation of the protection measures with the participation of the beneficiaries and/or their representatives".
 
We appreciate that the State of Guatemala, on the initiative of the Prosecutor General (Procurador General de la Nación), began the administrative process to suspend operations of the Mining Law Marlin I on August 10, in order to comply with the commitments made under International Human Rights Law. We ask the Government to keep us informed on progress and results in the implementation of this process, to report to us on the extent to which precautionary measures are being implemented, and to inform us about the participation of the representatives of the communities in the planning and implementation of these measures.
 
We further voice our concern in relation to the growing climate of conflict in the villages surrounding the mine, the attacks against individuals opposed to mining, as well as alleged arrest warrants against leaders and spokespersons for the affected communities. We ask the government to keep us informed on the specific actions taken to protect the life and physical integrity of the members of the 18 communities, until the IACHR adopts a decision on the merits of the petition associated with this request for precautionary measures.
 
The strength of the Inter American human rights system and compliance with the obligations undertaken through the Inter American Convention on Human Rights are essential for strengthening the political, economic and social development of the region, and represent the basis of the European Union's relations with Central America. The Partnership and Cooperation Agreement in force and the recently signed Association Agreement have at their foundation the democratic and human rights clause. This clause gives us confidence that the State of Guatemala will comply with the precautionary measures granted by the IACHR.
 
SIGNATURES FROM EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT:
 
Eva-Britt SVENSSON, Sweden, President of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality
 
Marita ULVSKOG, Sweden, Committee on Industry, Research and Energy
 
Ivo BELET, Belgium, Committee on Industry, Research and Energy
 
Jean-Luc DEHAENE, Belgium, Committee on Budgets
 
Jean LAMBERT, United Kingdom, Committee on Employment and Social Affairs
 
Goran FARM, Sweden, Committee on Budgets
 
Catherine GREZE, France, Committee on Development
 
Ska KELLER, Germany, Committee on Development
 
Nikolaos CHOUNTIS, Greece, Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs
 
Barbara LOCHBIHLER, Germany, Subcommittee on Human Rights
 
Bart STAES, Belgium, Committee on budgetary Control
 
Wolfgang KREISSL-DORFLER, Germany, Committee on Foreign Affairs
 
Oriol JUNQUERAS VIES, Spain, Committee on Petitions
 
Franziska Katharina BRANTNER, Germany, Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality
 
Helmut SCHOLZ, Germany, Committee on International Trade
 
Frieda BREPOELS, Belgium, Committee on Foreign Affairs
 
Satu HASSI, Finland, Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
 
Anna HEDH, Sweden, Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs
 
Asa WESTLUND, Sweden, Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
 
Raul ROMEVA I RUEDA, Spain, Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality
 
Olle LUDVIGSSON, Sweden, ommittee on Employment and Social Affairs
 
Kathleen VAN BREMPT, Belgium, Committee on Industry, Research and Energy
 
Rui TAVARES, Portugal, Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs
 
Said EL KHADRAOUI, Belgium, Committee on Transport and Tourism
 
Heide RUHLE, Germany, Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection
 
Martin HAUSLING, Germany, Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development
 

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