31 Mar The original people of Xoco file a lawsuit against federal and Mexico city´s authorities for violations of the right to free, prior and informed consent and indigenous consultation regarding the construction and operation of Mítikah real state project.
– Federal and local authorities have systematically refused to recognize Xoco’s original people’s rights.
– Mítikah is the most recent example of how real estate speculation excludes local inhabitants, makes living costs unbearable deteriorates traditional ways of life.
– The original people of Xoco initiate a new strategy in defense of their territory, supported by ProDESC.
Mexico City, March 23rd, 2023. Yesterday, the original people (“pueblo originario”) of San Sebastián Xoco, with the support of the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Project A.C. (ProDESC) (Proyecto de Derechos Económicos, Sociales y Culturales) filed an amparo before a District Court in Mexico City against federal and local authorities, for the violation of their right to free, prior and informed consent, as well as to participate in the elaboration and decision-making processes of the environmental, social, cultural and urban impact assessments related to the construction and operation of Mítikah real estate project, located in the territory of the Xoco community, in Mexico City.
The authorizations, permits and administrative resolutions of those authorities gave green light to the construction of the highest skyscraper in Mexico City, which are in direct violation of several provisions of Mexican Constitution and International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples.
“Since Mítikah came to take over Xoco, we opposed because we had no information about the dimensions, impacts and implications of the project. Although for many years we have demanded that the authorities of Mexico City and the Mayor’s Office explain to us what was going to happen to the community, they have ignored us. They have never recognized that as part of the original people we have rights over our territory”, says María Luisa Torres, one of the plaintiffs and a native of Xoco.
Mítikah comprises a $1.25 billion USD mixed-use development on two 109,606.58 m2 lots located in Mexico City. Its construction began in 2008 and when finished will include a medical clinic, a hotel, 500 luxury flats, a shopping center, an office complex, a 60-story tower 299 meters high, and a heliport. The complex opened its shopping center in September 2022. The square meter of the housing development is $87,196.00 MXN (more than USD 4,800), making it the sixth most expensive real estate development in the city.
Impacts of Mítikah on the Xoco community
Mítikah has negatively impacted the living of the original people of Xoco. Since its construction started, Xoco struggles with lack of access to a sufficient supply of drinking water; as well as with the increasing in the price of property tax and public services, and the displacement of local commerce, following the arrival of large commercial and convenience stores chains that increase the living costs. These situations profoundly affect the quality of life of the local population following situations of forced displacement. It has also led to social fragmentation and the criminalization of the people who defend their territory by exercising their right to free demonstration.
In addition, Mítikah has promoted the privatization of public space. Real de Mayorazgo Street, one of the main accesses to the community and a place for Xoco’s celebrations of cultural traditions, has been transformed into an “integration promenade” built for access to the shopping center and underground parking lots, dramatically changing the purpose and essence of the road, making access and transit to Xoco difficult and inadequate.
The authorities did not report any of these impacts to the original people of Xoco, who did not participate or engaged in the project definitions or decision-making processes, despite the fact that Mítikah comprises approximately 18% of their territory.
“Xoco, as descendants of the indigenous populations that inhabited the territory of the present Mexico City, has the full right to go before the courts to legally demand what the competent authorities did not guarantee in practice. These rights include consent and participation in the determination of impact assessments, as legal safeguards for a community to define their own development priorities and, ultimately, their subsistence as original people”, stated ProDESC’s legal team.
Xoco: a community with rights
Since 2017, the Mexico City’s government acknowledged the existence of 138 original people and 58 original neighborhoods in the city, among which is the “Pueblo de San Sebastián Xoco”. More than 50% of Mexico City’s territory is made up of communities and neighborhoods of pre-colonial origins, with their own ethnic identity and institutions. Despite this, those same authorities systematically refuse to recognize their rights under the law.
Mítikah represents the most recent case of how real estate development and speculation projects in Mexico City negatively impact the livelihoods of local communities, while acting as a mechanism of segregation and exclusion of original and indigenous peoples and communities in the Mexican capital.
The amparo filed by the original people of Xoco and ProDESC seeks to reverse such dynamics.
Since early 2023, the original people of Xoco are supported by the Mexican organization ProDESC, which specializes in strategic litigation and organizational support of communities and collectives in defense of economic, social and cultural rights.
Estefania Díaz de la Barrera, Strategic Communications Member
Teléfono +52 55 1503 2410
correo electrónico: [email protected]
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