Appropriations Act sets new precedent for recognizing indigenous rights

President Barack Obama set a new precedent for recognizing indigenous rights when he signed the Appropriations Act of 2014.  The Act includes language to help ensure that Maya Achi communities in Guatemala will finally be compensated for the damage and injustices caused by the construction of the Chixoy Dam. 

Thirty-three communities were stripped of their lands, homes, and crops  to make way for the Chixoy Hydroelectric Dam built in the early 1980’s. The project was funded by the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.

We are proud to have worked alongside ADVIMA to raise awareness among lawmakers about these grave injustices and the need for reparations.  

In addition to specifically addressing the redress due to the Maya Achi, the Act acknowledges that the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and other international financial institutions should be held accountable for the human rights violations that result from their financing.  This is a critical advance for the Center’s policy reform advocacy, reinforcing our position that banks' policies need to be improved to better protect the rights of indigenous peoples regionally and globally. 

We will continue to monitor the implementation of the Reparations Plan for the Maya Achi and continue challenging current policies within international banking systems to better protect indigenous rights to lands and resources. 

Statement by The Coordinator of the Communities Affected By the Construction of the Chixoy Dam (COCAHICH):

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