The case of Rubert Myles versus the Maya leaders has dominated the news since it was reported that Myles was detained by the Alcaldes of Santa Cruz in the Toledo District on the 20TH of June. Myles was handcuffed and hauled out of the village as the Alcaldes have stated that he squatted on land near their Uxbenka Archaeological Site, and destroyed a portion of it when he bulldozed a road to access to his house.
Myles on the other hand accused the villagers of Santa Cruz of being racist and since he believed that his rights were violated, decided to report the matter to police. As a result 13 Mayans of Santa Cruz Village including Cristina Coc were arraigned at the Punta Gorda Magistrate Court and charged for unlawfully detaining Myles.
That was approximately three weeks ago and today the issue is still alive and has captured the attention of the United Nations.
Today the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, emphasized that under international human rights standards, indigenous peoples have the right to use, develop and also control the lands, territories and resources that they possess by reason of traditional ownership.
Tauli-Corpus urges the Government of Belize to ensure respect for the rights of the country’s Maya people to non-discrimination and traditional property.
Tauli–Corpus said that the current situation of conflict and mistrust cannot be allowed to persist, and with this mentioned she is urging the Government to establish a dialogue with Maya leadership and discuss outstanding issues of concern regarding this case, as well as the broader land tenure situation of the Maya people, in a spirit of partnership and mutual respect.
Cultural survival an organization that has been advocating for Indigenous Peoples' rights and supporting Indigenous communities’ self-determination, cultures and political resilience for many years now, has also called on Prime Minister Dean Barrow to apologize for his harmful words against the Maya people, and for all charges against those arrested to be dropped, in accordance with national and international laws.
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