Brussels, 17th of June 2011

In an open letter addressed to the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, “39 MEPs from 5 different political parties (S&D, Greens, Gue/Nordic Left, ALDE and PPE) express their concerns regarding the lack of compliance and serious breach, by the State of Guatemala and Colombia, to the right of Guatemalan and Colombian indigenous peoples to prior consultation, before allowing any programmes for the exploration or exploitation of natural resources in their lands. In light of the proposed Central American and the European Union Association Agreements (AA) and the Trade Agreement between Colombia and the European Union, we ask to the EU:

o How has the EU followed up on the implementation of the Council’s resolution of 30 of November 1998 relating to “the right of indigenous peoples to choose their own models of development”. As the resolution states, indigenous peoples have “the right to oppose projects” that would cause detrimental impact on their way of life, biodiversity and their environment. This resolution also enables them to oppose those projects that increase their vulnerability to natural disasters and social conflict.

o How has the right to prior consultation with indigenous peoples been included in the political dialogue with Guatemala and Colombia: in the construction of the new Country Strategy Papers 2014-2020; in the negotiation of the Association Agreements between Central America and the European Union; and the Trade

o How is the EU is contributing to the protection of the right to prior consultation and in what way will the FTAs affect the situation of indigenous peoples and respect their human and collective rights?”

In addition MEPs urge the EU to insist that the Guatemalan and Colombian States:

o “Stop the criminalization of the struggle of indigenous people: Indigenous people have the right to defend their territories and those states need to guarantee a fair and impartial access to justice in order to reduce conflict. “

MEPs would like to invite the EU to attend the Conference on Indigenous Peoples/Mining Industries and Free Trade Agreements to be held at the European Parliament on the 22 of June from 16:30 to 18:30. This event would offer the opportunity to listen to indigenous representatives from Colombia and Guatemala to talk about the harmful impact that lack of consultation had over mining projects in their territory.

For more information please contact: Joanne Hutchinson oidhaco@oidhaco.org, and Giovanna Teijido Vázquez (Giovanna.teijidovazquez@cifcaeu.org), Joint Executive Secretary, CIFCA

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