In this video, villagers from Amador Hernández, inside the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve in the Lacandon Jungle of Chiapas, Mexico, describe an ongoing threat to their land as a result of the state government’s pursuit of a climate change policy to “protect” the forest.
The following information was originally posted on Climate Connections.
In March, 2011, Global Justice Ecology Project (GJEP), with support from Global Forest Coalition, traveled to the village of Amador Hernández, inside the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve in the Lacandon Jungle of Chiapas, Mexico. GJEP had been invited there by the villagers who explained that their right to remain on their land was under threat from REDD+ (the UN and World Bank’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation scheme). The state’s efforts to implement a climate change policy to “protect” the forest was putting them and other communities at risk of being forcibly moved off of their lands.
In Amador Hernandez, GJEP documented and interviewed residents about the ways in which Indigenous communities are threatened by forest carbon offset policies like REDD+. We investigated the way REDD+ projects in the Global South are being driven by legislation in the Global North—such as California’s Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32), which promotes forest carbon offsets.
In this video, Indigenous villagers clearly explain the insidious link between such policies and their current health emergency. A year before our visit, the government had withdrawn all medical services from their community, which had led to the deaths of several elderly people and children.
Under international law, Indigenous Peoples can only be moved from their homes under conditions of Free, Prior and Informed Consent. It appears the government of Chiapas plans to use international funds, including potential funds from California’s climate legislation, to “protect” the Lacandon for carbon sequestration by evicting the community of Amador Hernandez, in clear violation of The United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
1) Please submit public comments – due this Thursday, July 28 – to the California Air Resources Board to demand they not use forest carbon projects to offset emissions from California industries. Demand emissions be cut at the source.
For more information on the situation of Amador Hernández and its relation to California legislation and global climate policy, see the current issues of Race, Poverty and the Environment and Z Magazine and ongoing reporting on Climate Connections.
2) To sign a letter asking for the restoration of the village’s medical services, and that any threats to their territorial sovereignty cease, please send your name, organization (if any), country and email to: email@example.com
Details of the Letter to High-ranking Officials of the Mexican Federal Government and the Government of Chiapas:
This letter is collectively addressed to the three Federal and three State authorities mentioned in the text of the action alert. The denounced actions demonstrate, by omission or commission, and in greater or lesser degree, the probable implication and coordination of each and every one of these government agencies in conceiving, designing, implementing or tolerating the actions and aggressions addressed here.
Of the federal and state public health officials, WE ASK:
* That you reestablish the withdrawn health services, under the terms and conditions set by the affected communities, acting within their rights granted by the law, in order to prevent further aggressions;
* That you make public the legal reasoning behind this inhumane affront;
* That you sanction those responsible, and those complicit.
Of the Secretary of Agrarian Reform, WE ASK:
* That you order a halt to the delimiting of the Lacandon Community Zone (la brecha lacandona), until you have the consent of all of the neighboring communities that will be affected, and thus avoid conflicts between our communities;
* That you cease sending your employees to the region of Amador Hernández to use lies to attempt to convince people to participate in the FANAR Program (previously known as PROCEDE);
Of the Governor of Chiapas WE ASK:
* That you suspend the state REDD+ Project in the Lacandon Community Zone, as it constitutes a counterinsurgency plan that promotes conflicts between neighboring communities;
* That you stop lying to the indigenous peoples regarding the climate-related objectives of the REDD+ Project in Chiapas, and declare its true purpose: to conserve and recuperate biodiversity in the areas of greatest biological wealth in order to turn it over to the control and exploitation of transnational interests;
Of the officials of the Interior Ministries, both Federal and State, WE ASK:
* That you prevent any attacks, threats, or unconstitutional actions that could be directed in any way toward people or civil society groups who, through their work of solidarity, support the promotion of health in the communities of the region of Amador Hernández.
THE HUMAN COMMUNITY NEITHER SUPPORTS NOR ACCEPTS THAT THE FRUITS OF THE EARTH BE GIVEN TO SOME AT THE COST OF THE SUFFERING OF OTHERS.