Indigenous Mexicans Challenge Constitutionality of Mining Act
- The government reportedly granted nearly 2,173,141 hectares of concessions in Indigenous territories since 2000. | Photo: EFE
Me’phaa Indigenous communities, in the state of Guerrero, urge the Supreme Court to set a legal precedent and declare unconstitutional the mining act.
During a press conference, the agrarian, municipal and traditional authorities of the Indigenous Me’phaa (Tlapaneca) community of San Miguel Del Progreso – Juba Wajiín announced that Supreme Court judge Norma Lucia will rule on a highly-anticipated case on May 25.
Accompanied by their advisers from the Tlachinollan Human Rights Centre, they encouraged the Supreme Court to declare unconstitutional the mining act passed in 1992, arguing it was violating international treaties that Mexico had signed and ratified.
“Today, this normative framework is used to dispossess Indigenous peoples of their land, ignoring that from the indigenous worldview land is not a commodity; their territory is the material basis of the reproduction of their culture and is impregnated with their spiritual values,” they said.
The court has a historic opportunity to set a precedent for the protection of Indigenous peoples and communities’ rights against large-scale economic projects designed without prior consultation.
They stressed that a thorough analysis of the Mining Act not only will benefit the communities in the state of Guerrero, but many others which today are affected by mining concessions, as the government reportedly granted over 2 million hectares of concessions in Indigenous territories since 2000.
They also recalled that the federal government asked the supreme court dismiss a case of mining concessions in the state of Guerrero, allocated without prior consultation with local communities.
In February 2014, a district judge in Guerrero ruled in favor of the Mep’ haas communities, suspending mining concessions allocated to Hoschild and Zalamera. The landmark ruling referred to international treaties that Mexico had signed and ratified, such as ILO 169 Convention, and case law of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR).
The decision benefitted 240 communities living in 11 towns, until the Economy Ministry appealed the ruling.