PBI-Mexico accompanies ProDESC at consultation of Indigenous peoples on the Gunaa Sicarú wind power mega-project

Published by Brent Patterson on

On February 18, the Peace Brigades International-Mexico Project posted, “PBI accompanies ProDESC AC and observes the second session of the informative stage of the indigenous consultation process in Unión Hidalgo.”

“This session aims to provide information on the environmental and social impact of the Gunaa Sicarú wind project for local communities.”

The PBI-Mexico post on Facebook adds, “With this presence, PBI seeks to monitor the process and understand the possible effects on the risk situation of the human rights defenders who participate.”

PBI-Mexico has previously observed with concern an increase in the level of violence in the context of wind farms, particularly against human rights defenders and community leaders whose work involves the defence of those affected by these developments.

Gunaa Sicarú is a proposed 252-megawatt wind power mega-project headed by the Mexican subsidiary of the French transnational EDF (Électricité de France) that would install 96 wind turbines over 4,400 hectares of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region in the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico.

In October 2016, Transmission Hub noted EDF EN Mexico announced it had won two bids in an auction for “energy and clean energy certificates supply and purchase contracts” with the Federal Electricity Commission.

In May 2018, ProDESC tweeted, “District Judge grants definitive suspensions of Indigenous Consultation Procedure, construction and operation of the wind park Gunaa Sicarú in the indigenous Zapotec community #UniónHidalgo, #Oaxaca, Mexico.”

Multinationales.org further explains, “The district court ordered the consultation process and the construction and operation of the wind power plant to be suspended definitively. The judge recognised ‘the lack of natural and social conditions to exercise the right to consultation’ due to elections and the September 2017 earthquakes.”

In March 2019, Pagina 3 reported, “Despite the harassment, criminalization, threats, intimidation and aggressions against community defenders of Unión Hidalgo who oppose the Gunaa Sicarú Wind Power Project, the Ministry of Energy [is convening consultations in different communities] within the framework of the Preliminary Agreements Phase of the ‘Prior, free and informed consultation procedure’.”

In October 2019, “Indigenous human rights defenders, communal representatives from Unión Hidalgo, [ProDESC, the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Project] and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), sent a formal letter urging [EDF] to comply with the French duty of vigilance law and in particular to identify and mitigate human rights risks for local communities posed by its windpark project in Oaxaca.”

And also in October 2019, Reporterre reported, “EDF’s wind projects … are angering the inhabitants of the region, especially those of Unión Hidalgo. A delegation of ProDESC, a collective of legal support for indigenous communities, came to France at the beginning of October to denounce them.”

ProDESC is a member of the Focal Group of Civil Society on Business and Human Rights (Focal Group) that PBI-Mexico has accompanied since 2015.

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