La Parota Dam Project in Mexico Will Displace 25,000 Indigenous People Says New Study


More than 25,000 Indigenous people will be displaced and 75,000 indirectly affected by the the implementation of the 900 mega watt La Paraot Dam Project, says a newly released report by the Geneva-based Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE), the Habitat International Coalition (HIC) and Espacio DESC (composed of 13 Mexican NGO)

According to The Right to Housing and to Land in face of Development Projects, the La Parota dam will inundate an area of 14.213 hectares, most of which is covered by forests and farmland..

The La Parota dam situated on the Papagayo River in the state of Guerrero is seen as fundamental for generating electricity for Mexico during peak hours. The Government of Mexico and the Electricity Commission of Mexico (CFE) did not consult local communities before the commencement of the project. According to the affected communities the Mexican government also failed to provide basic services such as healthcare and running water in the areas surrounding the La Parota dam site since the commencement of the technical studies for the project in 1976.

Jean Du Plessis, Deputy Director of COHRE, said, “The La Parota dam project will result in human rights violations and contravene Mexico’s obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). The Mexican government and the CFE have justified the project on the grounds that it is essential for ‘development’ and therefore, in the interests of the general public good. However, development that leads to displacements and forced evictions is fundamentally counterproductive because displacements and forced evictions create homelessness, destroy property and productive assets, and obstruct access to potable water, sanitation, healthcare, livelihood opportunities and education.”

Affected communities claim that the CFE has interfered with its right to assembly as many of the agrarian assemblies organised to debate the project were irregularly convoked. In the case of the assembly carried out in Cacahuatepec, the presence of 50 police patrols and 300 heavily armed policemen intimidated the participation of those who opposed the La Parota dam project.

The agrarian assemblies, regulated by the national agrarian law, were not adequate to carry out sufficient consultations with the affected communities about the implementation of the La Parota dam project. Residents claim the assemblies did not consider the welfare of those who did not have land titles. The agrarian law only allows those who have land titles (ejidatarios and comuneros) to vote in the assemblies, which excludes thousands of women and tenants

Sebastian Tedeschi, Coordinator of COHRE’s Americas programme, said, “The La Parota Dam project has caused tensions and conflict amongst the affected communities. We urge the Mexican government to engage with the affected communities in a transparent consultation process aimed at carrying out the project without the need for further human rights violations.”

In 2006, the United National Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples, Rodolfo Stavehagen, denounced “the abuses and violations against indigenous peasants in the State of Guerrero, who oppose the La Parota dam project, which the State insists to implement without the free agreement of the population”.

The report will be publicly launched on 9 August, in Mexico DF. Besides the case of Mexico, development projects in Guatemala and in Honduras were also analysed with regards their impacts on the right to land and to housing of indigenous and afro-Caribbean communities.

COHRE and HIC urge 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. They demand the CFE to respect human rights and to provide full and adequate information to the communities during the next General Assembly of the Indigenous Community of Communal Goods of Cacahuatepec, which will take place on 12 August.

For further information please contact Sebastian Tedeschi, Coordinator of the COHRE Americas Programme, email and Silvia Emanuelli from HIC, email, phone number +52.55.55 12 67 26 and +52.55.55 12 15 86.

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