communities harmed by dam projects in Mexico won an important victory. A
panel of international experts serving as judges for the Mexico chapter of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT)
recognized a pattern of “gross and systematic human rights violations” in the
construction of dams throughout Mexico over the past 40 years.
More than 185,000 people have been forcibly evicted.
In a special
PPT pre-hearing on dams and their impact on rural, indigenous, and campesino
communities, directly affected residents told their stories and testified about
therange of human rights violations that affected communities living near
dam projects. They told of lack of consultation and intimidation before
construction, about forced evictions during construction, and inadequate
To set the stage, activists opened the
hearing with a video that compiled
testimonies from more than 60 videos made on the topic.
One renowned activist, Lupita
Lara, who lost her home to make way for a dam
project that ended up never being built, asked the question that gave the video
its name: How do you destroy a 140-year-old community in 15 days?
After two days of what they called “deeply
sad and disturbing” testimony, the independent panel of PPT judges issued their
ruling on Friday and calledon Mexican authorities to put an end to forced
evictions and abide by Mexican legislation and international human rights
standards in these projects.
The ruling is an important recognition of
the Mexican government’s role as perpetrator of these abuses, as well as its
responsibility to stop them. Our partners hand-delivered the ruling to the
Mexican Supreme Court of Justice this morning and will continue to use the
ruling to pressure decision-makers and raise visibility to these communities’
To learn more about how you can support
the struggle of dam-affected communities in Mexico, visit the Mexican Movement of People Affected by Dams and in
Defense of Rivers (MAPDER).
Produced with support from Habitat International Coalition-Latin America Office, and WITNESS.
More information in English:
* To read the
original article, by Priscila Nèri, click here.