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On June 16, 2021, the Supreme Court of Belize ruled in favor of Maya land rights, upholding the community of Jalacte’s right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) on their customary lands. The court issued a decision in the case, Jalacte Village vs. the Attorney General, ruling that the government breached the Maya Peoples’ constitutional rights, obligating the government of Belize to return the lands that had been taken without the community’s consent and ordering compensation of the equivalent of $3.12 million USD.  

Photo: Screen grab of OHCHR video marking the 10-year anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, showing a Maya village in Toledo, Belize.

In a regional international court on Monday, October 23rd, 2017 Maya leaders attested there has been a “complete failure” by the government of Belize to abide by the court order to identify and protect the proprietary rights of the Maya Peoples to their customary lands.

On January 20, 2017, while the United States watched the swearing in of one its most controversial and oppressive presidents ever elected, the Maya people of Southern Belize  swore in new leadership under their traditional governance system, recognized under both Maya cultural authority and the State of Belize.  The alcaldes were elected in a peaceful process by 39 villages.  Cultural Survival congratulates the new leaders, including Mr.

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