PBI-Canada webinar: Abelino Mejía on the sugar industry and the human right to water in Guatemala

Published by Brent Patterson on

On March 13, Abelino Salvador Mejía Cancino from the Council of Communities of Retalhuleu (CCR) joined a Peace Brigades International-Canada organized webinar on Defending the right to water from harm by the sugar industry in Guatemala.

The webinar was hosted by PBI-Canada Board member Marianna Tzabiras and also featured Kerstin Reemtsma from PBI-Guatemala.

You can watch the Facebook video of that webinar (mostly in Spanish) by clicking here.

To hear the audio for Abelino’s introductory comments in English (a 14-minute audio file from the Zoom webinar), please click below.

Abelino also spoke about the ways in which accompaniment and solidarity can help in the struggle to uphold the right to water:

“We ask that the international community watch very closely what happens. You can send diplomatic support for the hearings so that they see we do have support.”

“There is a year-by-year certification process for the sugar mills. They need to visit not just the sugar mills, but the communities, that they come to see the rivers, they need to see the reality of the poverty the sugar cane industry is leaving here in our country.”

“An international commission needs to come to verify the damage that has taken place. And to say if you aren’t going to protect the environment, we can’t buy your sugar.”

Kerstin Reemtsma of PBI-Guatemala added to Abelino’s comment:

“For people listening today, you can ask Canadian companies or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs how they guarantee in the supply chain respect for human rights because as I understand it this commitment does exist. How are they ensuring respect for human rights?”

We continue to follow this situation closely.


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