An update on F-PIC Protocol
During this morning’s session, the Free Prior Informed Consent Protocol was also discussed. While GOB believes the F-PIC was finalized, that’s not the position that the Maya community holds.
Leslie Mendez, Attorney for Appellants: “The Maya Land Policy as well it’s important to highlight that the Maya Land Policy itself already seeks to change or to scale back on the application of the protocol as well. So the protocol really continues to be this sort of wavering document that is prodding general guidance of course we acknowledge that but nonetheless it’s certainly – the government says it’s finalized but already in it’s policy it’s talking about scaling back on that protocol. The only point that I was seeking to make is that even though the government presents the protocol as a finalized document it’s clear that it’s not necessarily being treated as such because the policy makes certain changes to the protocol itself and so even though the government is treating it as such we would still expect some engagement on the comments that we have made and on the proposals that we have made and those have been communicated to the government since about May last year.”
SC Andrew Marshalleck, Attorney for Respondents: “Your honor the protocol from our perspective has been finalized. I didn’t realize we still regarded those comments from all the way back in May as still live. I thought we had dealt with those there’ve been correspondences, there’ve been meetings afterwards, there was the compromise on still type it, there was the printing so I didn’t realize that we were going back there. But the FPIC protocol as it stands and as it’s been adopted is an interim measure designed to hold the rein until the legislation is passed and the policy is intended to provide a basis for instruction for the drafting of the legislation and of course is to be subject to full consultation by everybody and what we’ve indicated in the policy is that when legislation is drafted we contemplate some adjusting of the circumstances in which the FPIC protocol is to apply and this arises directly from past experiences in the interim regarding oil exploration, the construction of a road and the award of significant compensations for the construction of a public road. And we also had issues with providing utilities where compensation is sought for allowing utility poles to sit on certain lands those kinds of things. So those issue are very live and we anticipate that they have to be dealt with through a process of consultation and by way of legislation so that we’re signaling even at this stage that when the legislation is drafted we’d expect that these adjustments would be made. But we don’t expect to adjust the protocol as it exists and as it applies in this interim period, it’s to apply as it stands.”
The CCJ’s Maya Land Rights Consent Order was a significant victory for the Maya people in Belize, and it has been hailed as a groundbreaking decision in the field of indigenous rights and land rights in the Caribbean region.