The Spanish Government has had to respond in the Senate on the case of the leading q 'eqchí' Bernardo Caal Xol imprisoned in Guatemala for opposing hydroelectric projects on indigenous rivers, including the Spanish company Grupo Cobra (ACS) which builds upon the Cahabón River. Is a work involving 29,000 indigenous and that greatly reduces the flow of the Cahabón River in a section of 30 km and for several months a year, generating a serious social and environmental impact as it has recognized the Procurator of human rights in the Central American country.
The casedocumented by Alliance for solidarity and included in the report "Justice for the people and the planet. By the end of impunity for corporations” Greenpeace, he has also reached the Chamber of Deputies, where there have been propositions of a Bill (NLP) aimed at forcing companies abroad to the fulfillment of the human and environmental rights.
At the same time, thousands of q 'Q'eqchi' they have rallied in Guatemala this weekend demanding the immediate release of their leader and Alliance for solidarity together with Greenpeace keep active his campaign demanding his freedomas well as ACS stop work until not a community consultation and the whole of the complex socio-environmental study. Caal Xol was accused of various crimes, such as theft, threats or incitement to commit an offence, with the clear goal of criminalizing the struggle. He is in prison since January 31 in infamous conditions. This Thursday April 5 will be held in Guatemala a key judicial act for the immediate future of Caal Xol.
Senator Jon Iñárritu mixed group, in a question directed to the Government, are interested in the official position on this case and others in pursuit of leaders in Guatemala. The answer came on 22 March and she pointed out that you received at the Embassy in Guatemala to the indigenous leader February 17, 2017 for interested in their claims, although it should be remembered that this interest occurred within the framework of a demonstration of the q' eqchí' front of the own Embassy to claim support against the "plundering of its river".
In addition, the Government mentions the protection program of temporary shelter in Spain for human rights defenders, while acknowledging that since 1995 only 300 people have benefited from the same, 13 a year. For Alliance for solidarity and Greenpeace is absolutely insufficient numbers to the global human rights situation and remember that in countries like Guatemala the "inciting to commit a crime", used to criminalize protests of the population, It would prevent that leaders such as Bernardo could benefit from this protection.
Against the Government assertion that "this year is expected to give special attention to the right to consultation from the perspective of indigenous peoples", NGOs claim that, apart from the recommendations, be obliged to Spanish companies that do not carry out projects without free, prior, and informed consultation to indigenous peoples as set out in the ILO Convention 169.
Latest NLP which also referred to the case of hydroelectricity REBORN that you built ACS in Guatemala, has been presented on March 20 at the initiative of the PSOE. She recalled that the National Plan of business and human rights collects information, awareness and training, but is not binding, therefore calls for the reinforcement of the system of supervision and monitoring of the Spanish companies, repair against possible violations of human rights consequences of their action, the momentum of an international treaty binding for the transnational corporations from around the world, the exclusion from public contracts from companies that do not comply with requirements in respect to the rights of indigenous peoples and the implementation of a programme for the protection of defenders of human rights by the Spanish Agency for international co-operation for development (AECID).
Both Alliance for solidarity as Greenpeace believe that the Spanish Government can't wash the hands that make companies abroad, especially when they affect human rights and are criminalized defenders as it is the case of the indigenous leader Bernardo Caal Xol.