Guatemala's justice system continues to fail Maya peoples

The Indian Law Resource Center is deeply concerned about the recent murders, kidnappings and wrongful arrests against prominent indigenous leaders throughout Guatemala. We are working with our indigenous colleagues in Guatemala to confirm key facts.  In the meantime, Indigenous leaders of the CONSEJO DEL PUEBLO MAYA DE OCCIDENTE -CPO- and the Xinca Parliament are calling for all nations to voice their opposition toward the continued injustices and discrimination faced by indigenous peoples in Guatemala.  See the official statement in Spanish.





The Ixil, Q'anjob'al, Chuj, Akateko, K'iche', Mam, Kaqchikel, Q'eqchi', Ch'orti ,'Poqomchi', Achi', Xinka, and Meztizo people, gathered in Council, wish to express our tremendous outrage because we again see the justice system of this nation devalue our lives. We provide the following examples:

1.                  The Constitutional Court in response to our constitutional challenge against the Mining Law, denied our right to consultation, a right recognized within the ILO Convention 169, even before the approval of the Mining Law. 

2.                  In Lanquin Alta Verapaz, the Constitutional Court ruled in favor of the Q’eqchi’ people but did not revoke the construction license of the hydroelectric plant, mocking, discriminating, and  acting in a racist manner toward the Maya Q'eqchi' people.

3.                  In Totonicapán, the government and courts in failing to prosecute the masterminds of the massacre of October 4, 2012, continues to promote impunity and the weakening of the rule of law.

4.                  In the Maya Ixil territory, the judgments of the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court have been in favor of multinational corporations. The Ixil people tried to have dialogue with the Italian company ENEL, however the firm, in complicity with the current government, abandoned the dialogue process.  They took advantage of the population’s poverty and have signed a business agreement which violates the dignity and rights of indigenous peoples.

5.                  The reform to the teaching certification that is being imposed by the current government is denying us the use of our indigenous languages ​​and the formation of indigenous teachers. 

We could list additional countless legal actions that we have taken to put an end to such abuses, murders, persecutions, evictions that are occurring in the four corners of our country.

We have used all the legal means available to defend our rights as a demonstration of confidence in the rule of law imposed on us. However we are being forced to lose faith and respect in its laws and institutions.


In the face of these attacks, we issue this call to all our peoples for unity and resistance.

Iximulew, 9 Aq’ab’al, 10 K’AT /Guatemala, March 14 and 15, 2013