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Jul 19, 2016

MLA Returns to CCJ for Update on Consent Order

The Maya Leaders Alliance was back in court today where representatives of the indigenous organization appeared via teleconference before the Caribbean Court of Justice.  The session this morning served to update the court on developments since the CCJ issued a consent order in April 2015.  Since then however, there have been two developments, including the matter of the Santa Cruz Thirteen involving Rupert Myles, as well as the case of the village of Jalacte.  According to MLA spokesperson Cristina Coc, the Toledo Maya Land Rights Commission insists that it was not established, nor does it have the capacity to address some of the issues that have been brought up by the Maya communities.

 

Cristina Coc

Cristina Coc, Spokesperson, Maya Leaders Alliance

“So this morning we had a hearing before the Caribbean Court of Justice by way of teleconference.  It is with respect to the reports that have been submitted by both parties, by the government and the Maya people.  We each submitted reports and the Caribbean Court of Justice’s justices wanted to seek clarification and seek further undertakings with respect to those reports.  On the part of the Maya people, we raised issue with ongoing violations.  Even though we have a Caribbean Court of Justice order which affirms our rights to our lands and resources, we continue to have numerous violations on our lands such as logging, land sales and even the government taking away lands from subsistence farmers in villages like Jalacte and in the case of Santa Cruz, the trespass case.  And so the CCJ basically raised issue with the counsel for government and said what do you have in place to remedy that?  What will you consider to do with respect to those ongoing violations and providing redress for them short of coming to court because the CCJ raised the fact that coming to court is very costly, not just for the indigenous people, not just for the Maya people but for the Government of Belize and sought the consideration of the government to consider setting up a body that would be, that would have the capacity and be equipped to provide redress and to solve some of these issues, given the fact that the commission continues to say that they are not setup with the capacity to resolve some of these issues.  And so the CCJ asked the government to consider setting up a body that would have the capacity and would be able to address these issues outside of court.”

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