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16 Nov 2017

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Mexico: End of the mission statement of Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples denounces mega projects & lack of consultation

“End of mission Satement by the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples on her mission to Mexico,” 17 Nov 2017

…The objective of the visit was two fold: to assess the implementation of the recommendations made by my predecessor Special Rapporteur Rodolfo Stavenhagen in 2003, and to evaluate how Mexico has incorporated its international human rights commitments… I will focus in this preliminary statement on the main systemic issues and challenges I identified. I will review the considerable amount of information I have received in the coming months as I develop my country report… Current inadequate legal recognition of indigenous peoples as rights-holders and structural discrimination are the thread that underlies all the topics and concerns I will highlight in this statement. These include lands and territories; autonomy, self-determination and political participation; self- identification of indigenous peoples; access to justice violence and impunity; the right to determine development priorities; consultation and free, prior and informed consent; economic, social and cultural rights; and the particular situation of specific sectors of indigenous peoples…

In recent years, there has been an increasing concern about mega-projects promoted by the Government and related issues of consultation and free, prior and informed consent. In its 2015 report on the human rights situation in Mexico, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights...identified violence related to mega-projects authorized on indigenous lands and territories without prior consultation and consent as one of the major human rights violations that indigenous peoples in Mexico face...

Moreover, during its 2016 visit to Mexico, the Working Group on Business and Human Rights...found that...“inadequate consultation with individuals and communities affected by major development projects”...along with inadequate levels of transparency [had] generated “a high level of distrust among different stakeholders”.

During my visit, I heard consistent complaints about economic development projects that were not adequately consulted and have led to land dispossession, environmental impacts, social conflicts and criminalization of indigenous community members opposing them. These include mining, oil and gas, hydroelectric, wind, solar, infrastructure, tourism and agro-industrial projects...