March 8, 2021

The Justice orders to make a query for a hydroelectric plant of the Spanish ACS in Guatemala

The organization Alianza por la Solidaridad said Wednesday that the Supreme Court of Justice of Guatemala has ordered a prior consultation of the indigenous communities affected by a hydroelectric plant belonging to the Spanish group ACS.

The resolution, said the entity, requires to make "a free, prior and informed consultation" to the communities affected by the Renace project on the Cahabón river, in the department of Alta Verapaz, a work built by the Spanish company Grupo Cobra-ACS , subcontracted by the owner Corporación Multi Inversiones (CMI).

The company had been denounced for failing to comply with the internationally recognized right of indigenous peoples to be consulted on concessions of their territories and their resources, as indicated in the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention in force in Guatemala from 1997

However, this ruling "does not paralyze the operations of the hydroelectric plant" Renace that are under way, which has led to a reasoned vote by one of the magistrates, Maria Dávila Salazar, who asks to suspend the license "until they are restored the rights of the Q'eqchi people. "

This, the organization said, as it happened in a previous shelter with another hydroelectric plant – Oxxec I and Oxec II – in the same river Cahabón and that also disagrees that the Court does not mention "the violation of access to water" of the communities due to this project.

Alliance for Solidarity showed its "satisfaction" because after years of struggle the indigenous communities have their rights recognized judicially.

And he demanded the hydroelectric plant, built in part by the Spanish company Cobra of the ACS Group, of the Spanish businessman Florentino Pérez, president of Real Madrid, to stop operating until those affected do not vote in that consultation, for which there is still no date .

"It is necessary to remember that the Renace case was the result of an investigation developed by the Spanish NGO within its 'TieRRRa' campaign for responsible investments," said the organization, which since 2016 has collected more than 32,000 signatures in support of the Mayan communities. affected, more than 29,000 people.

One of the Guatemalan indigenous leaders who denounced this situation publicly in the country, activist Bernardo Caal Xoc, has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison for acts related to protests in defense of the Cahabón River, a situation that has been qualified as criminalization by various organizations.

The judicial ruling released on Wednesday indicates that it is proven that the effects of the decision taken on the authorization still have consequences on the lives of the indigenous people, which means that the State of Guatemala is violating it in the present, not in the last·.

It also mentions the current situation of defenselessness of indigenous peoples in the country, according to reports from international organizations such as the United Nations, despite the fact that its Constitution contains the imperative to protect "their customs, lives and territories, aspects that have not been developed until now in its legislation. "

The ruling orders the Ministry of Energy and Mines to carry out the entire process and points out that it would have monitored the company's relations with the communities because the consultation must be done in "good faith" and "without coercion or pressure, nor generating divisions between communities. "

The Supreme Court also obliges the Ministry of the Environment to send the Ministry of Mines and Energy all the environmental impact reports it has on Renace and to initiate the process for a consultation.

. (tagsToTranslate) Justice (t) query (t) hydroelectric (t) ACS (t) Guatemala

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