MEPs alert the CDM board on human rights breaches

Talking with Maximo Ba Tiul from the Council of Peoples of Tezulutlan, Guatemala.

In March 2015, we, four MEPs from the Greens, S&D and 5 Star Movement, organised a hearing on global human rights and climate actions. We heard a representative of the indigenous people of Guatemala about serious human rights breaches in Santa Rita hydroelectric plant in the Dolores River. This project has been part of the Kyoto protocol’s clean development mechanism (CDM) to reduce global emissions.

We learnt that many of the local communities that were to be impacted by the project were never consulted in accordance with the CDM requirements. A violent conflict had broken out between the communities and the power company. Since 2010 allegedly seven people had been killed, including two children, 70 civilians injured, 30 illegally arrested, 30 houses burned to the ground and more than 40 people had been put on a warrant restricting their rights.

We wrote a letter to the CDM board requesting investigation of the events together with the International finance corporation’s compliance advisory ombudsman, and tthe development banks of Germany (DEG), the Netherlands (FMO) and Spain (AECID) financing the project. We also urged the board to quicly establish a grievance mechanism, safeguards and compliance system to make sure the human rights breaches can be prevented and brought into justice.

The board in its answer claimed that the required stakeholder consultations had been carried out appropriately in Santa Rita. This information was received from the Guatemalan authorities responsible for CDM. The board also forwarded our letter to the Guatemalan authority requesting to know the current status of the project.

Regarding the grievance system, we were told that they are being considered and will be implemented once the CDM members have agreed on them.

We hope that the board continues to be alert on the humans rights violations and makes all the possible efforts to guarantee the respect for human rights in CDM projects.


CDM’s website with letters from stakeholders