IACHR questions arrest of Maya leaders

The Inter American Commission of Human Rights

Friday, July 03, 2015. Aaron Humes Reporting: The Inter American Commission of Human Rights has written Attorney General and Minister of Foreign Affairs  over the arrest of Maya Leaders Alliance spokesperson Cristina Coc and 12 residents of Santa Cruz, Toledo District.

In the July 1 letter the IACHR officially asks for information on the whereabouts, status and treatment of the accused, on the grounds that the life and personal integrity of the Maya leaders are at risk for wilfred_elringtondefending their land. Professor James Anaya, a former UN special rapporteur, has told local media that the questions are standard in issues like this, and has officially been told that the group were released on bail after arraignment and their charges.

Professor Anaya frames the matter in the context of defense of Maya land rights which the Commission has been assisting with and which has consistently been affirmed by the courts of Belize and most recently the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

On the Prime Minister’s comments concerning the arrest and treatment of Rupert Myles in Santa Cruz, the professor suggested that he be given the benefit of the doubt, reacting in “a heated moment.” The Government, he says, are obligated to protect the rights of the Maya people in accordance with the multiple court judgments as previously mentioned.

Today the Maya held a press conference in Golden Stream to discuss latest developments and we will bring you news of that later on.

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