PBI-Guatemala present at Q’eqchi’ request to Constitutional Court to stop the Renace dams
The Peace Brigades International-Guatemala Project has posted, “On Wednesday, October 23, the public hearing of the appeal of the amparo given by the Supreme Court of Justice to the Q’eqchi’ communities impacted by the Renace hydroelectric power plant was held in the Constitutional Court.”
PBI-Guatemala adds, “Inhabitants of San Pedro Carchá, indicate that the Ministry of Energy and Mines authorized the company and concessioned the Cahabón River for 50 years, violating the right of consultation to the Q’eqchi’ people, so it is requested that the Constitutional Court protect and suspend hydroelectric activities.”
Prensa Libre reports, “Ana Rutilia Ical who went to the Supreme Court of Justice indicated that she has the right as a citizen to challenge the permits granted by the Ministry of Energy and Mines to the company Renace that violated the right of consultation for the Q’eqchi’ people when the Cahabón River was concessioned for 50 years.”
Ical said, “It is not a crime to go to court to protect our rights but we have been criminalized for doing so, they have even taken us to jail, so I ask on my behalf and on behalf of the Q’eqchi’ people to suspend the project.”
PBI-Guatemala has previously pointed out, “On the Cahabón River and its tributaries Oxec, Canlich and Chiacté, seven hydroelectric plants currently operate: Renace I, II, III, IV, Oxec, Oxec II, and Chichaic.”
The two most recently completed dams are Oxec II which began operation in September 2018 and Renace IV which became operational in January 2019.
Contrainformacion.es has noted, “The construction [of the Renace hydroelectric complex] is having a ‘serious impact on human rights’ for the 29,000 indigenous people living in this territory.”
Telesur has also reported, “The communities claim the Oxec and Renace hydroelectric projects are illegal because the local Indigenous Q’eqchi’ peoples were not properly consulted and informed about it, as established by Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization” and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
PBI-United Kingdom has posted, “In August 2017, PBI provided security support to the good-faith consultation in which the 195 communities of the Cahabón River overwhelmingly rejected the Oxec hydroelectric projects.”
Not long after that, in November 2018, Mayan Q’eqchi’ community leader Caal Xol was sentenced to seven years and four months in prison.
Telesur notes, “It was Caal Xol who filed three lawsuits against the Oxec construction company at different institutions, including accusations for failing to consult the local population, and illegally cutting down 15 hectares of trees.”
PBI-Guatemala has accompanied the Peaceful Resistance of Cahabón since July 2017.