The ejido community of La Sierrita de Galeana in Durango has organized itself to mount a legal defense of its human rights to its communally owned land and natural resources in response to violations by the Mexican State and the mining company Excellon de México, the Mexican subsidiary of the Canadian firm, Excellon Resources Inc.
ProDESC has accompanied Ejido La Sierrita de Galeana since 2007 with an integral defense strategy. In 2008, the members of this Ejido (“ejidatarios”) of La Sierrita signed a temporary occupation contract with the firm Excellon de México, for the construction of the mine called La Platosa. In order to mitigate the damage caused by the mining activities, the Ejido included economic, social and environment clauses in the contract which the company did not respect. Excellon also perpetrated other violations by not preventing its activities from causing negative effects on the Ejido’s human rights; by not preventing or mitigating these consequences; and by not ensuring due diligence.
Given the company’s non-compliance, in 2012 the ejidatarios began a legal and peaceful defense to annul the contract signed with Excellon. During this period, the Ejido has been threatened, harassed and intimidated by State agents and other people closely connected to the company. Furthermore, Excellon’s representatives have repeatedly refused to continue dialogue with the Ejido, to respond to the human rights violations or to return the lands to the ejidatarios.
Although the Ejido has made progress in terms of its organization, such as the re-zoning of the land to take more advantage of its territory and to empower women’s participation in representing the Ejido, the legal defense is still ongoing in the criminal and administrative courts, at the Second Collegiate Circuit Court (Segundo Tribunal Colegiado) in Torreón, Coahuila.
Violated Human Rights:
- Right to land
- Right to a healthy environment
- Right to natural resources