Posted: Thursday, August 2, 2018. 4:25 pm CST.
By BBN Staff: Today, the Toledo Alcaldes Association (TAA) along with the Toledo District Association of Village Councils (DAVCO) and Maya Leaders Alliance (MLA) issued a joint statement to record their heightened concern on the manner in which the orders and guidance of the highest court of Belize are being “strong-armed.”
The TAA and MLA work directly with the Alcaldes of the 39 Maya villages.
DAVCO represents 48 Village Councils of people of diverse cultures, customary practices and way of life which includes the 39 Maya villages.
The leadership of the TAA, DAVCO and MLA have been meeting to assess where the implementation of the CCJ Maya Land Rights Orders stand.
The groups say that they are committed to a process that promotes dialogue and good faith negotiation over the course of the planning, implementation and follow up stages.
“Free, Prior and Informed Consent requires this level of engaged exchange throughout the course of carrying out the Orders, as implementation of the Maya Land Rights decisions will have lasting implications on the lives of the Maya people,” the statement says.
Furthermore, the groups’ joint position is that the implementation of the CCJ Orders can only be achieved through a process that is self-directed by the community from whom dialogue is being sought, unencumbered by coercion, intimidation and expectations or timelines that are externally imposed.
According to the groups, since the 2015 judgement, the Commission’s steps to implement the Consent Order have fallen short of a process of dialogue and negotiation.
“While the representatives of the Maya people have invested in finding their own capacity and resources to effectively represent the interest of the Maya people their input often are not meaningfully considered,” it further explains.
Therefore, the groups believe that given the circumstances, it is “difficult for the Maya people to accept the Commission’s work plan.”
The groups say that they are encouraged by the guidance of the CCJ where on July 30 , it ordered the Government of Belize to explain how it incorporated the input of the Maya people into the work plan.
The alliances remain hopeful that the government will engage in further dialogue and negotiation to achieve a joint work plan. Similarly, while they continue to participate in the Bi-lateral Technical Committee and the consultancy to develop a Maya customary land tenure policy the groups have registered concerns over the manner these activities are being approached by the government.
“Implementing the Maya Land Right Orders is the life line, the future of an entire people, the 39 villages we represent,” the alliance explains.
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