Guatemala should refrain from issuing new licenses for natural resources extraction in indigenous territories, in the absence of an effective consultation mechanism (June 2010)

By | 19 June, 2010

guatemala-visit_resizeFollowing his visit to Guatemala between 14 and 18 June 2010, Special Rapporteur James Anaya identified a high level of social conflict and instability in relation to natural resource extraction activities being carried out in indigenous lands by private companies, in a large part due to a lack of effective consultation with the indigenous communities affected by these activities. The Special Rapporteur observed a pressing need to develop a mechanism to regulate consultation with indigenous peoples. At the same time, he emphasized that the present lack of such a mechanism does not absolve the Government of its obligation to consult with indigenous peoples on matters that affect their rights and interests. The Special Rapporteur addressed the particular situation of deficient consultations leading to the licensing of the Marlin gold mine to the Goldcorp company and allegations of environmental harm by the mine. See Preliminary Observations and Press Release [Spanish only]. See also sampling of media coverage of the visit.