dorset chiapas solidarity

February 26, 2015

Sonora, Mexico: Indigenous Yaqui Persist in Opposition to Aqueduct

Filed under: Indigenous, water — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:15 am

 

Sonora, Mexico: Indigenous Yaqui Persist in Opposition to Aqueduct

   Tomás Rojo, Paola Pacheco, Alejandra Leyva and Monica Oehler, during the presentation of the report, A Failed Sentence: The Failure of the Mexican Government to Fulfil the Supreme Court Resolution Regarding the Yaqui Tribe's Right to Consultation, held at the Iberoamerican University Photo: Roberto García Ortiz


 
Tomás Rojo, Paola Pacheco, Alejandra Leyva and Monica Oehler, during the presentation of the report,
A Failed Sentence: The Failure of the Mexican Government to Fulfil the Supreme Court Resolution Regarding the Yaqui Tribe’s Right to Consultation, held at the Iberoamerican University
Photo: Roberto García Ortiz

Arturo Sánchez Jiménez

La Jornada. 24th February, 2015
For the Yaqui tribe, the Independence Aqueduct has been legally defeated. Tomás Rojo, spokesman for the tribe, said the megaproject is still operating because there are levels of government who have refused to obey the law and have violated human rights.

Rojo participated yesterday in the presentation of the report, A Failed Sentence: The Failure of the Mexican Government to Fulfil the Supreme Court Resolution Regarding the Yaqui Tribe’s Right to Consultation, prepared by the Civil Mission for Observation of the Consultation. It was held at the Iberoamerican University.

MV Note: Under the Mexican Constitution, indigenous tribes have a right to prior consultation regarding any governmental or private project that may affect their lands. In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that such a consultation had not been held with the Yaqui and needed to be carried out. However, early in 2015, the Court ruled that the completed aqueduct could continue to function while the consultation was being carried out. 

Interviewed at the end of the ceremony, the spokesman said that last Monday a committee of representatives of the Yaqui people met with the head of the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), Juan José Guerra Abud, to discuss the consultation, mandated by the Supreme Court of Justice (SCJ), which must be held with the tribe regarding the aqueduct. The consultation process was stopped after the detention of indigenous leader, Mario Luna.

While consultation resumed last week at the stage at which it had been interrupted–providing the Yaqui with information about the aqueduct–Rojo said the tribe “has determined that (the authorities) want to end the consultation and only complete the formal procedure in order to accept the environmental impact statement regarding the aqueduct project. We have the suspicion that they do not want to give our consent the value that it should have.”

Therefore, reported Rojo, they will insist on the cancellation of the operation of the aqueduct before the consultation is ended, because a few days ago the opinion of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) was issued, which stated that the diversion of water from the basin of the Sonora Yaqui River had caused irreversible damages to the people who belong to this tribe.

The presentation of this report was lead by Alejandra Leyva, representative of the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights; Monica Oehler Toca, from the area of ​​legal strategies of Amnesty International, and Pablo Reyna, director the Advocacy Program at the Iberoamerican University.

Leyva said the Observation Mission found that the right to prior consultation is the main violation of the guarantees of the tribe, as the Supreme Court ordered it to be held in 2013, when construction of the aqueduct had already been completed and it was functioning. She said that when the consultation is finished, the tribe’s decision regarding the aqueduct should be respected, “especially if it is found that there is irreparable damage” to them.

For her part, the representative of Amnesty International said that Mexico “seems to have everything in place regarding respect for the rights of indigenous peoples”, as the government has signed international treaties and laws have been created for this purpose. “But when we review a particular case, such as that of the Yaqui tribe, we see violations of their rights.”

The academic Adolfo Gilly, who for health reasons did not attend the presentation, sent a text in which he questioned whether the objective of the aqueduct is to exterminate the Yaqui.

Translated by Reed Brundage

Latest version of article in Spanish: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/ultimas/2015/02/24/acueducto-independencia-esta-201cderrotado-legalmente201d-vocero-yaqui-9075.html

 

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