REPORT No. 30/17
PETITION 1118-11
REPORT ON ADMISSIBILITY
MAYA Q’EQCHI’ AGUA CALIENTE COMMUNITY
GUATEMALA
MARCH 18, 2017

I.

SUMMARY

1.
On August 19, 2011, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter "the InterAmerican Commission," "the Commission,” or “the IACHR”) received a petition submitted by the Indian Law
Resource Center, the Maya Q’eqchí’ Agua Caliente Community, and Rodrigo Tot (hereinafter "the petitioners")
against Guatemala (hereinafter "Guatemala" or "the State"). The petition was filed in representation of the
Q’eqchi’ Mayan community in Agua Caliente (hereinafter "the alleged victim").
2.
The petitioners argue that Guatemala violated the collective property rights to land and
natural resources and the right to self-determination and self-governance of the Q’eqchi’ Mayan community in
Agua Caliente due to the lack of a special law recognizing these rights. They allege that existing laws have failed
to recognize these rights and omitted the participation of indigenous peoples from processes and procedures
regulating the adjudication of their lands, mineral exploitation on their territories, and approval of
environmental impact studies for mining projects.
3.
For its part, the State indicates that the individual and collective rights of indigenous peoples
and communities are constitutionally guaranteed, and that measures of judicial protection are in place to
protect their economic, social, cultural, and environmental interests. It maintains that “the State is the only one
that can dispose of its properties and has the authority to grant mining licenses. It can therefore decide,
pursuant to the laws regulating the subject, to grant mining concessions." In addition, it argues that the alleged
victims have not exhausted domestic remedies for titling their lands and opposing the mining project.
4.
Without prejudging the merits of the petition, after analyzing the pleadings of the parties and
pursuant to the requirements established in Articles 46 and 47 of the American Convention on Human Rights
(hereinafter "the American Convention" or "the Convention") and Articles 31 through 34 of the Rules of
Procedure of the IACHR, (hereinafter the “Rules of Procedure”), the Commission decides to declare this petition
admissible regarding the alleged violations of the rights enshrined in Articles 3 (right to juridical personality)
8 (right to a fair trial), 21 (right to property), 24 (right to equal protection), and 25 (right ti judicial protection)
of the American Convention, in connection with Articles 1(1) (obligation to respect rights) and 2 (duties to
adopt provisions in domestic law) of the same instrument. The Commission also decides to notify the parties
of this decision, to publish it, and to include it in its Annual Report to the General Assembly of the Organization
of American States.
II.

PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE IACHR

5.
The IACHR received a petition on August 19, 2011, and on February 5, 2015, it forwarded a
copy of pertinent parts to the State, giving it three months to submit its comments, based on Article 30(3) of its
Rules of Procedure. On May 7, 2015, the State’s response was received. The response was forwarded to the
petitioners on June 4, 2015.
6.
The petitioners submitted additional comments on August 22 and 23, 2011; April 17, 2012;
and November 11, 2013. These comments were duly forwarded to the State.

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