Press Release

IACHR Issues Precautionary Measures in Favor of Indigenous Mayan Poqomchi' Families from the Washington and Dos Fuentes Communities in Guatemala

October 19, 2020

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Resolution 67/2020 (available in Spanish)

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Washington, D.C. - On October 14, 2020, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 67/2020 (available in Spanish), granting precautionary protection measures in favor of indigenous Mayan Poqomchi’ families from the Washington and Dos Fuentes communities, whom it deems to be at serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm to their human rights.

According to the petition, the families are at risk following a series of threats, intimidation, and aggressions that form part of an agrarian conflict over certain lands that they claim ancestral ownership of. The IACHR requested information from the State, which provided observations; and after analyzing the parties’ de facto and de jure allegations in the light of the specific context in which they allegedly took place, it deemed that the indigenous Mayan Poqomchi’ families from the Washington and Dos Fuentes communities are, prima facie, at grave and urgent risk, as their members’ rights to life and personal integrity are under threat.

As a consequence, in accordance with Article 25 of the IACHR Rules of Procedure, it requested that Guatemala: a) adopt the necessary measures to protect the rights to life and personal integrity of indigenous families from the Poqomchi’ Mayan families of the Washington and Dos Fuentes communities through culturally appropriate measures that seek to improve, among other things, their living conditions, nutrition, and access to drinking water, especially for children, women, the elderly, and people who have been displaced; b) adopt culturally appropriate protection measures to protect the life and personal integrity of families from this community and prevent acts of violence perpetrated by third parties; c) agree on the measures to be taken with the beneficiaries themselves and their representatives, bearing in mind the importance of safeguarding the cultural identity of the proposed beneficiaries as members of the Poqomchi’ Mayan community; and d) report on the actions it takes to investigate into the allegations that led to the issuing of this precautionary measure, so as to prevent them from being repeated.

The fact that this precautionary measure has been granted and its adoption by the state does not entail a prejudgment on any petition that may eventually be filed before the inter-American system to allege that the rights protected by the American Convention and other applicable instruments have been violated.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 255/20