On 11 August in Chihuahua City, a discussion took place about the “exercise of the right to Tribunal Consultation.” The event was organized by the Sierra Madre Alliance A.C. (ASMAC), with the participation of the Community Technical Consultation (CONTEC) and the Mexican Center for Environmental Law (CEMDA).
Representatives of the three organizations analyzed the right to free, prior and informed consultation of the indigenous people in the north of Mexico, given the development of megaprojects in communities with regard to infrastructure, energy and extraction of natural resources. These cases include Rarámuri de Choréachi, Coloradas de la Virgen and Huetosachi communities in the Sierra Tarahumara, Chihuahua state; and the Yaqui people, in Sonora State.
During the discussion, many people talked about how the projects were affecting the land, territory and environment of the communities, and how they have threatened their survival; they also explained how the communities have defended their cases before different legal bodies.
In Mexico, the right to free, prior and informed consent of communities and indigenous people is guaranteed since 1990 by the 169th Convention of the International Labour Organization (ILO), and also with national legislation, since the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous People (CDI) has a non-binding protocol for its implementation.
ASMAC and CONTEC are part of the Network in Defense of Indigenous Territories in the Sierra Tarahumara, which integrally defends the human rights of the indigenous people in the Sierra Tarahumara and supports the legal recognition of their ancestral territories.
It is important to highlight that the Choreachi community has collective provisional measures granted by the Inter-American Court since March 2017, due to the risk of its members due to their work. This risk is even more clear due to the recent killings of community defenders in the region.