PBI-Mexico says cancellation of Gunaa Sicarú “a milestone in the defence of the right to land”

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo: PBI-Mexico accompanies a ProDESC media conference on a court ruling suspending Gunaa Sicarú in February 2020.

On June 6, PBI-Mexico tweeted:

“The defense process promoted by @ProDESC [the Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights Project] and the community of Unión Hidalgo make the cancellation of Gunaa Sicarú a milestone in the defense of the right to land, territory and natural assets of indigenous communities and for corporate accountability in Mexico.”

ProDESC further explains: “Gunaa Sicarú was a wind power plant that sought to illegally settle on communal land to build 115 wind turbines with a total capacity of 300 MW, one of the largest in Latin America.”

It adds: “Since [2017], ProDESC and the indigenous community of Unión Hidalgo began a process of defense of land and territory for serious violations of the rights of the community and failures in the identification of risks and implementation of protection measures in the development of their megaproject.”

And it notes: “During this process, it was detected that [the Paris-based] EDF [Electricité de France] signed contracts and agreements, developed parallel information and communication processes, and contributed to the rupture of the social fabric in Unión Hidalgo, affecting the prior, free and informed nature of the consultation developed by Mexican authorities regarding such a project.”

ProDESC lawyer Guillermo Torres has commented: “By influencing the consultation and offering incentives to individual supporters of the project, EDF and its Mexican subsidiary caused violence to escalate in Unión Hidalgo. Consequently, threats against and attacks on human rights and land rights defenders are increasing. We urge EDF to take measures to prevent further attacks on Unión Hidalgo human rights defenders.”

The Guardian has previously reported: “The situation for defenders [in Mexico has been] exacerbated by energy reforms in 2013, since when scores of renewable energy mega-projects have been imposed on rural and indigenous communities without adequate consultation or compensation. …The violence has been particularly marked in the biodiverse isthmus of Tehuantepec – a narrow land mass between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean where 28 mega wind farms now generate electricity.”

And the PBI-Mexico briefing paper Wind Farms and Concerns about Human Rights Violations in Oaxaca has highlighted that: “Throughout 2013, Peace Brigades International 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.”

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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