Sunday, December 16, 2018
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Indigenous rights ignored
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Countrys largest indigenous organization says government is failing to guarantee basic rights.

Guatemala´s most important indigenous umbrella group Maya Waqib´ Kej says that in the year since the United Nations adopted the Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples the government has failed to fulfill the most basic cultural rights of the country´s indigenous population.

Guatemala´s indigenous population comprises 42 percent of the country´s population of 13 million, but Maya Waqib´ Kej, which represents the main indigenous groups, complained that the government failed to enforce the minimum guidelines outlined in the convention for the respect of indigenous rights such as free determination, autonomy, and rights to land and natural resources of their native lands.

“One year since the approval of the UN´s declaration on indigenous rights, the situation of the Mayan people in Guatemala continues in an inhumane situation with the constant attack of their individual and collective rights,” the organization said in a statement. Maya Waqib´ Kej said that the current government´s policies of displacement of indigenous peoples for the benefit of business are causing the deterioration of indigenous community life.

The organization called it a “clear violation of historic rights recognized by the UN” that the government authorizes projects that affect their lands and resources for the exploitation of minerals, water and other natural resources.

It also accused the government of “cheating indigenous communities and organizations with bureaucratic promises to avoid the demands of a real solution to the structural inequalities in which the Maya people in Guatemala have lived for more than five centuries.”

The organization said the government responds to its demands with “repression, violence and political persecution.”

It called on President Álvaro Colom to stop these indigenous rights abuses.

Guatemala, along with other countries with large indigenous populations, such as Mexico and Peru, first introduced the convention to the United Nations.
—Latinamerica Press.

Latinamerica Press / Noticias Aliadas
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