International Rivers Latin America Program Coordinator Monti Aguirre writes, “I am honored to have been invited to be a judge at a pre-hearing of the Permanent Peoples Tribunal (PPT) on environmental destruction, which will take place November 5-6th in Temacapulín, Mexico… I am furthered honored to be on this panel with distinguished judges that include Miloon Kothari, Ex-Special Rapporteur for Housing Rights of the UN; Maude Barlow, President of the Council of Canadians; Patricia Avila, researcher at the Laboratory on Political Ecology and Society of the Ecosystems Research Center of the National Autonomous University of Mexico and a judge at the Latin American Water Tribunal; Francisco Lopez Barcenas, indigenous Mixtec lawyer and expert on indigenous rights; and Carlos Vainer, a sociologist and professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.”
Aguirre adds, “Italian organization HIC-AL is coordinating the pre-hearing on the environment in Temacapulín, which will examine the construction of dams and reservoirs in Mexico. …Temaca, as it’s affectionately called by its residents, is a small but committed town fighting inundation from El Zapotillo Dam. …We will review documentation and hear from dam-affected or threatened peoples from El Zapotillo, Cerro de Oro, Paso de la Reina, La Parota and El Naranjal dams. The results of the pre-hearings will be presented at a final hearing in front of the Tribunal in Mexico in early 2014.”
And she explains, “The Permanent Peoples Tribunal is an international ethical non-governmental tribunal established in Italy in 1979, that examines the violation of the fundamental rights of the people, and determines if violations have been committed. While the PPT does not pass legally binding judgments, it presents the findings of its research and hearings to the public for their own opinion to be given. …For the next three years, the PPT in Mexico will delve into and judge the crimes against humanity committed by the Mexican State. The Mexican chapter of the PPT intends to provide ample evidence of the massive violations of human rights and environmental destruction linked to the devastating consequences of the free trade agreements with the US, Europe and others regions; and resource extraction projects.”
Aguirre’s blog can be read at http://www.internationalrivers.org/blogs/233/seeking-justice-on-dams-and-human-rights-in-mexico. For a Council of Canadians blog on its concerns about major dams around the world – including the El Zapotillo dam, go to http://canadians.org/blog/?p=16719.