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UPDATE: Barlow on PPT panel examining the La Parota dam

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Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow will be in Mexico this coming week to participate in the Permanent Peoples Tribunal examining the impacts of the construction of dams in Mexico. The Tribunal panel will hear about the El Zapotillo, Cerro de Oro, Paso de la Reina, La Parota and El Naranjal dams. Barlow will be in charge of the Cerro del Oro case http://canadians.org/blog/?p=17657, and provide support on the El Zapotillo http://canadians.org/blog/?p=12915 and La Parota cases.

If it proceeds, the 531-foot high La Parota hydroelectric dam on the Papagayo River in south-western Mexico would flood almost 17,000 hectares of forest and farmland and displace more than 25,000 people, with an additional 75,000 people affected by changes to the river’s ecosystem downstream of the dam.

The Council of Communal Land-owners and Communities Opposed to the La Parota dam (Consejo de Ejidos y Comunidades Opositoras a la Presa la Parota, CECOP), the Mexican Movement of Peoples Affected by Dams and in Defense of Rivers (Movimiento Mexicano de Afectados por las Presas y en Defensa de los Rios, MAPDER), the Mexican Environmental Law Center (Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental, CEMDA), International Rivers, Witness.org, Amnesty International and many other groups have opposed this dam for years.

Early last month, Priscila Néri wrote on Witness.org, “After nearly 10 years of campaigning to save their homes and lands, our partners from the CECOP network in Mexico are celebrating a significant victory on the path to the definitive cancellation of the La Parota dam project.”

“On August 16, 2012, community members and CECOP met with the governor of the state of Guerrero, Ángel Aguirre, and he signed the group’s 5-point proposal known as the ‘Acuerdos de Cacahuatepec’. In the agreement, Aguirre commits, among other points, to: 1) not push the La Parota dam project forward during his mandate; 2) respect the affected communities’ rejection to the project, as well as the multiple legal rulings that have been issued in favor of CECOP due to fraudulent consultations promoted by authorities in the region; 3) serve as an interlocutor to promote a meeting between CECOP and the Mexican president, who has the ultimate authority to cancel the dam project definitively.”

Although the dam has not been defeated, this win builds on the September 2009 announcement that La Parota would be postponed until 2018.

To read an Amnesty International report on the dam from 2007, please go to http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR41/029/2007/en/3bc8de5f-d37f-11dd-a329-2f46302a8cc6/amr410292007en.html. An August 2012 update from International Rivers is at http://www.internationalrivers.org/campaigns/la-parota-dam.

The Permanent Peoples Tribunal pre-hearing in Temacapulín on the environment is being coordinated by MAPDER, HIC-AL (Habitat International Coalition-Latin America), and other organizations. The information that the Tribunal panel gathers this week will be presented at a final Permanent Peoples Tribunal hearing in Mexico in early-2014.

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