The presidential agreement that protects the projects and works of the federal government promotes “private profit and public dispossession”, as well as representing “a death sentence for the communities and territories affected” by the megaprojects, according to indigenous and peasant organisations, collectives and activists.
The organisations recalled that the agreement, issued on 22 November 2021, contravenes several articles of the Constitution and violates a series of existing laws, as it legitimises any federal government project without complying with requirements that evaluate its impact on the environment, its legality in the field of property and the non-violation of human and peoples’ rights, such as the right to prior, free and informed consultation.
“This attempts to exclude them from the legal sphere and endorses new dispossessions of our rights, lands, waters, forests and territories,” said the organisations, including the Red en Defensa del Maíz, the ETC Group and the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Centre.
“Long before 2018, our peoples were already denouncing the devastation generated by the countless megaprojects that will now be considered strategic and of national security,” said the organisations and collectives, who added that the communities have organised to file 17 amparos with substantive claims against the agreement, but only one in Puebla has proceeded.
In most of the other amparos, they explained, the courts have responded to the indigenous communities with “unnecessary difficulties, demanding absurd additional procedures and/or declaring themselves incompetent, which in practice is a denial of access to justice for indigenous peoples”.
The organisations also denounced that although many mass media want to present an image as if the businessmen and some political parties were critical of the agreement, “in reality their main concern is that this decree only favours some national and transnational companies working on projects considered a priority by the government, when what they would like is for the suspension of rights and obligation to comply with environmental and consultation laws to apply to all their companies and their activities”.
For this reason, they denounced the public utility at the service of private interests and demanded the immediate repeal of the agreement, as well as calling on communities and collectives to resist its imposition through all peaceful means and the law.
Below is the full communiqué:
NO TO GOVERNMENT BY DECREE
IT IS NOT DEVELOPMENT, IT IS DISPOSSESSION
NO TO THE PRESIDENTIAL “AGREEMENT” OF 22 NOVEMBER 2021
We, the undersigned communities, ejidos and social organisations from all over Mexico, recognise and denounce the negative and irreversible consequences on our peoples, territories and the nature with which we live and care for, which are derived from the Presidential Agreement issued on 22 November 2021, (DOF: 22/11/2021) and therefore….
WE DEMAND ITS IMMEDIATE REPEAL
The decree, wrongly called Agreement, has two central points:
1. It declares of public interest and national security the execution of projects and works by the Government of Mexico associated with infrastructure in the communications, telecommunications, customs, border, water, water, environment, tourism, health, railways, railways in all its forms energy, ports, airports and those that, “by its object, characteristics, nature, complexity and magnitude are considered a priority or strategic for national development”.
2. It also establishes that the different related governmental bodies must grant provisional authorisation within 5 days of the application being submitted, and that if this is not issued, it will be understood to have been resolved in a positive sense. These bodies will have one year to take a final decision.
The decree contravenes several articles of the Constitution and violates a series of existing laws, as detailed by Francisco López Bárcenas (Gobernar por decreto, La Jornada, 27/11/21).
It is the legitimisation of any federal government project to be executed without complying with the requirements and terms of law that evaluate its impact on the environment, its legality in the field of property and the non-violation of human rights such as the right to prior, free and informed consultation established in national laws and international treaties, this attempts to exclude them from the legal sphere and endorses new dispossessions of our rights, lands, waters, forests and territories.
These so-called provisional resolutions for one year, try to put the government’s mega-projects in a situation of consummated act, preventing the protection of justice through the trial of guarantees, since if they are not prevented, they will generate irreversible negative impacts due to the type of infrastructure works, logging of forests and jungles, water pollution, flooding, razing of lands and villages. The agreement is in reality a death sentence for the affected communities and territories.
It is also a legalisation of the repression and persecution of those of us who legitimately organise and defend our territories and lives in the face of the irreversible impacts of these projects about which we have not even been informed, consulted or given our consent. In the very serious context of the advancing militarisation of the country promoted and favoured by the government, this is a declaration of impunity in the face of repression against indigenous peoples and peasants, who have lived and cared for the territories since time immemorial and long before the constitution of the Mexican state. For proof of this, it is enough to read what the general director of the Interoceanic Project of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Rafael Marín, declared about the decree-agreement: “This will not only facilitate the reduction of the procedures and times that impede the progress of the works, but will also guarantee the rapid intervention of the authorities to contain probable blockades; this will help us to make the procedures more agile and, on the other hand, the fact that the projects are declared strategic installations also helps us so that the authorities can intervene immediately in the case of blockades and this type of thing”.
It is the same businessmen and parties that have questioned this decree because of their commercial and political interests that in previous governments imposed these same types of projects on our peoples, and against whom we have protested, denounced and resisted for many decades, of which there are numerous testimonies and written history. Among these, the struggles and denunciations of the National Indigenous Congress from 1996 to the present throughout the country, the testimonies recorded in more than 40 pre-hearings and hearings of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal Mexico chapter between 2011 and 2014, the testimonies of territorial and environmental devastation in real sacrifice zones in more than 10 regions of the country, also verified by caravans and missions of peoples and national and international organisations in 2020-21.
Long before 2018, our peoples were already denouncing the devastation generated by countless megaprojects that will now be considered strategic and of national security: mega-projects for roads, water, energy, and infrastructure that invade and dispossess our territories, such as the Morelos Integral Project, the Transisthmian Corridor, and the misnamed Mayan Train, against which many communities have taken legal protection.
The communities, movements and organisations made the same pronouncement in the Pronouncement of the National Meeting of Struggles against Gas Pipelines and Projects of Death, on 17 January 2022, in which the peoples affirm: “the Presidential Decree of 22 November 2021 represents a new onslaught against those who defend life because, despite the fact that megaprojects have been imposed without the consent of our peoples and through force, today dispossession and imposition are legalised in an attempt to annul the possibility of organisational action and legal action” (https://www. centrodemedioslibres.org/…/pronunciamiento…/)
We know that the SCJN suspended the application of this agreement in response to INAI’s request, but only in its aspects related to access to information, while the consequences of the decree are much broader.
Communities and organisations of the National Indigenous Congress have filed 17 amparos with substantive claims. One of these was accepted and the court in Puebla has granted an appeal to suspend the application of the agreement. (https://tinyurl.com/465yt4ek) In most of the other amparos, the courts have responded by posing unnecessary difficulties for the indigenous communities, demanding absurd additional procedures and/or declaring themselves incompetent, which in practice is a denial of access to justice for indigenous peoples.
We also denounce that although many mass media want to present an image as if the businessmen and some political parties were critical of the decree, in reality their main concern is that this decree only favours some national and transnational companies working on projects considered a priority by the government, when what they would like is for the suspension of rights and obligation to comply with environmental and consultation laws to apply to all their companies and their activities.
As the indigenous and peasant organisations of Oaxaca (https://tinyurl.com/f36nu9nt) state, what this and previous governments call “national development” is not such, but a renewed plan for dispossession.
We denounce public utility at the service of private interests. It is private utility and public dispossession.
We demand the immediate repeal of the decree….
We call on all communities and peoples to denounce and…
Resist by all peaceful means and by law.
February 2, 2022, Candlemas day
Network in Defence of Maize. Union of organisations of the Sierra Juárez de Oaxaca, SC. State Space in Defence of Native Maize of Oaxaca. Assembly of defenders of the Múuch’Xíinbal Mayan Territory. National Centre for Aid to Indigenous Missions (Cenami). Comité de Derechos Humanos de la Sierra Norte de Veracruz (Human Rights Committee of the Sierra Norte de Veracruz). Economic and Social Development for Indigenous Mexicans (Desmi), AC. Centro de Estudios para el Cambio en el Campo Mexicano (Ceccam). Collective for Autonomy (Colectivo por la Autonomía). ETC Group. GRAIN. Ejidos in Defence of Mayan Territory (Ejidos en Defensa del Territorio Maya). Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Centre. Committee for the Promotion and Defence of Life Samuel Ruíz García, Chicomuselo, Chiapas. Young People in the Face of the National Emergency. Casa Temilco. Space of All for Community Defence (ETCO). Section XXII CNTE-SNTE. Guardians of the Sea. Xa’aybej Collective (Colectivo Xa’aybej) CODEDI. Communist Youth Front. Communist Party of Mexico. Peninsular Front of Popular Resistance. Pueblo de Loma de Bacum de la Nación de la Tribu Yaqui. Lagos de Colores. ZODEVITE. Mission of Bachajón, Chiapas. Communards of San Pedro Atlapulco. Magdalena Gómez. Evangelina Robles González. Lorenzo Moreno Pajarito. Julián Vázquez Guzmán.
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