The Case of “Lote Ocho”: Indigenous women hold corporations accountable for violence

Rural and Mayan communities gather in Guatemala City to protest extractive industries in Guatemala. EFE/Saúl Martínez.

Indigenous women in Guatemala are using the concept of extraterritorial obligations to hold corporations accountable for violence—and to set important precedents in human rights law.

Andrea Bolaños Vargas and Andrea Suárez Trueba write an interesting and increasingly relevant article in the Open Global Rights website.

In Latin America, the role of Indigenous, Afro-descendant, Garifuna and peasant women in the defense of life, land, territory, and the environment is increasingly visible. Women have become more vocal as extractive industry projects are installed in their communities without free, prior, and informed consent, resulting in dispossession of land, loss of livelihoods, and the eviction of communities. Often, women’s rights are not protected by the state, and they become victims of gender-based violence when defending their territories. Women human rights defenders face different types of resistance and violence linked to sexism and gender stereotypes, meaning they have to challenge the status quo on multiple fronts.

The “Lote Ocho” case is a prime example of this: 11 Q’eqchies Mayan women allege that in 2007, they were raped and sexually assaulted by private security guards from Skye Resources Inc., now part of Hudbay Minerals, a Canadian mining company, during forced evictions in Izabal, Guatemala.. The Indigenous women argued that the evictions took place in a context of a land conflict between the Indigenous communities and Hudbay Minerals. The day that the women suffered the attack, they had decided to remain at their homes as a form of resistance to the attempt to this forced displaced them from their lands. Only women and children were in the community at that time.

You can read the full piece, here, on the Open Global Rights website.

Categories: Culture, Environment, Evictions, Gender, Genocide, Guatemala, Human Rights, Indigenous peoples, Justice, Land, Legal, Military, Mining, Poverty, Resource Extraction, Violence

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