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14 October 2013 | | | | | | |

A Landmark Case

Human Rights Mission visited Santa Cruz Barillas municipality as part of 5th REDLAR Meeting in Guatemala

The 5th Meeting of REDLAR ended on Saturday 12 October in Las Cruces municipality, Peten department, Guatemala. The meeting agreed on the plan of action for the next three years and the participation of 18 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.

The meeting officially began on October 7th with a Mission of Solidarity and Verification of Human Rights Abuses by the Guatemalan State and Spanish company Hidralia SA, which has promoted the construction of the Hydro Santa Cruz project in Barillas. The criminalization and militarization in the area and the dismissal of the results of the community consultations has been going on for seven years. The situation worsened in May of 2012 when Otto Perez Molina administration declared a state of emergency in the area.

As a result, human rights and environmental activists, legal experts and communicators of organizations from Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the United States and Venezuela visited Santa Cruz Barillas municipality They focused their visit on the villages of San Mateo and Santa Eulalia, were leaders, community authorities and movements have been victims of abuses for peacefully denouncing that the construction does not have popular support.

The outcomes of the missions are compiled in a report that will be submitted before legal authorities and human rights groups. There will also be an international press conference on Monday at the Forum “Energy: Its social and environmental impacts nowadays”, to be held in Guatemala City by CEIBA-Friend of the Earth Guatemala.

These image gallery shows different moments of the mission to the communities and the testimonies from people who have been seriously injured by the repression of the National Civil Police and private security guards of Hidro Santa Cruz.

Several leaders of the resistance to the corporation, located in “Poza Verde”, by the river, also participated in the 5th Meeting of Redlar, which coincided with the round tables about the “Barillas case” organized by Perez Molina administration. The leaders will participate at the press conference on Monday.

The communities of the eight municipalities involved in the resistance are demanding the immediate cancellation of the licenses granted to Hidralia SA, the total and unconditional withdrawal of the corporation and the delivery of the ill-gotten land, besides a compensation for the moral, health and economic damage caused to the community by the transnational corporation, included in the mission’s report to be released on October 14.

Photos: Real World Radio and the Movement of People Affected by Dams of Brazil (MAB)


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