PBI-Guatemala accompanies Peaceful Resistance of Cahabón as Q’eqchi’ defenders receive threats for defending territory and rivers

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On March 8, PBI-Guatemala posted:

“#PBI accompanies to the Peaceful Resistance of Cahabón visiting Q’eqchi’ defenders who receive threats for defending their territory and rivers.”

The Peace Brigades International-Guatemala Project has accompanied the Peaceful Resistance of Cahabón since July 2017.

It has explained: “The Peaceful Resistance of Cahabón is made of more than 190 Q’eqchi’ communities who live in the Cahabón River basin. Since 2015 they have organized around defense of territory and against the launch of the OXEC I and OXEC II hydroelectric projects installed on the Oxec River, a tributary of the Cahabón River.”

It adds: “During the good-faith consultation [in August 2017] PBI accompanied the consultation process relating to the hydroelectric project installed on the Cahabón river basin, operated by OXEC SA, belonging to the Energy Resources Capital Corp group (ERCC).”

Hatch Ltd., a company founded in Toronto and now based in nearby Mississauga, was involved in the construction of the OXEC II dam.

NS Energy has reported: “Hatch would be engaged to deliver the conceptual design and detailed design-build-engineering for the Oxec II Hydroelectric Project.”

Commenting on OXEC II, Ian Ainslie, a Hatch project manager based in Niagara Falls, Ontario, noted: “Hatch has been active in developing hydroelectric sites in Guatemala for over 20 years.” And Hatch’s managing director of power, Jim Sarvinis, says: “Projects like Oxec II are exactly why we do the type of work we do at Hatch.”

In 2017, PBI-Guatemala noted: “On February 17 the Constitutional Court (CC) ordered to suspend the construction of Oxec I and Oxec II hydroelectric projects due to incompliance with Convention 169 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) which establishes the right of indigenous peoples to be consulted on projects that affect them.”

OXEC II became operational in September 2018.

We continue to follow the Q’eqchi’ resistance to dams on the Cahabon River.

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