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Nov 17, 2015

Mayans Return to CCJ for Clarity on Land Rights

At the end of October, in a landmark ruling, the Caribbean Court of Justice ordered Government to make reparation to the Mayan community for damages suffered. The court ordered the setting up of a fund of three hundred thousand dollars to facilitate the consultation process and dialogue between G.O.B. and the Mayan community. The victory came after years of struggle for some clarity where Mayan land rights are concerned. G.O.B. has publicly stated that the rights are not defined, so the Mayas were back before the CCJ today. According to the MLA’s Program Director, Pablo Mis, they refuse to accept G.O.B.’s position that there is ambiguity on the rights of the Mayas. And since the government seems in no hurry to comply, they were forced to seek the assistance of the CCJ, which retains jurisdiction over the matter.

 

Pablo Mis

Pablo Mis, Program Director, Mayan Leaders Alliance

“There were three things that we were looking for. One…is for a declaration that the government by its actions, current actions, has violated the consent order of April 2015. We were also asking the Court for clarification of the nature of the rights of the Maya communities, particularly where it has to do with who can or cannot reside within Mayan communities. The third thing we were asking is for them to clarify the issue of the fund that was set aside for implementation. Now the attorney for the government made an intervention to say that the government is intent on implementing, and because there was a recent election and a recent swearing in of the Cabinet, they were not able to do anything. The judges felt that there were serious concerns on the part of the Mayan people, and the Mayan people cannot be left to wait, and for that reason the judge gave the government another chance, another opportunity to engage with the Mayan people in good faith. They decided not to deal with the three issues that we brought before the Court, but instead ordered that the government report back to them on January twenty-first, with concrete actions that they would have taken in consultation with the Mayan people.”

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