· The implementation of the analysed projects of infrastructure, energy and tourism have increased land conflicts and social tension, affirm COHRE and HIC
· Development projects must guarantee the respect and fulfillment of the human rights of the affected communities, recommend COHRE and HIC
The Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE) with the collaboration of the Habitat International Coalition (HIC) and Space of Coordination of Civil Organizations on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Espacio DESC) launched today, in an open seminar in Mexico City, the publication “The Right to Housing and to Land in face of Development Projects”, which presents the results of the fact-finding mission carried out in Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala in September 2006. The report analyses the impacts of tourist, infrastructure and energy projects on the rights to land and to housing of indigenous communities and peasants in these countries, which where implemented in the scope of regional development schemes, specially the Plan Puebla
Based on information gathered from interviews and meetings conducted with a range of stakeholders involved in these projects – NGOs, social movements, public authorities, governments, academic researches and journalists – the report highlights the relationship between the implementation of these projects development projects and the legislative and police changes of land and property rights of peasants and indigenous communities. The report focused on specific projects in each country: in Guatemala it analyses the impact of the proposed construction of the dams Champey, Samastun and Xalala on the rights to land, access to natural resources and housing of indigenous communities of Lankín and Ixcan; in Honduras it deals with the tourist projects been supported by the Inter American Development Bank and the World Bank and their impact on territorial rights of Afro-Caribbean Garifuna communities of San Juan and Triunfo de
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Through this report, the international and national organisations want to call the attention of the Mexican government to recognise the gross violations of human rights that would result from the implementation of such project if genuine consultations and the provision of adequate information to the affected communities are not provided. COHRE, HIC and Espacio DESC urge the government to adopt all necessary measures to guarantee the promotion and the protection of civil, political, economic, social, cultural and environmental rights of the affected communities, as well as to respect the recommendations already provided by United Nations bodies – International Labour Organisation, Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Special Rapporteurs with regards to
Furthermore, they urge CFE to provide full and adequate information to the affect communities through informed consultations that will take place on 12 August, in the General Assembly of the Indigenous Community of Communal Goods of Cacahuatepec, regarding the social, economic and technical components of the dam project, as well as to allow their effective participation on the outcomes of the project.
The COHRE report provides for recommendations to the governments, banks, social movements and other relevant stakeholders on how to assure the protection and fulfilment of human rights when implementing such projects.
For further information please contact Sebastian Tedeschi, Coordinator of the COHRE Americas Programme, email email@example.com and Silvia Emanuelli from HIC, email firstname.lastname@example.org, phone number +52.55.55 12 67 26 and +52.55.55 12 15 86.