The Court of Appeals in Belize has upheld the historic 2010 ruling by the former Chief Justice of Belize, stating that the Maya people of Toledo have legal holding and farming rights to the land that they occupy.
The Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM), a community based indigenous environmental organization, advocates the land rights of Maya communities in the Toledo District of Belize. On July 22, 2013 SATIIM and four Indigenous Maya communities, with support from RRI and others, had brought legal action against the Government of Belize and the US Capital Energy company for human rights as well as environmental violations, caused by the drilling on Q’eqchi Maya Customary titled land.
These violations began in June 2010, when the Supreme Court of Belize affirmed rights of communal land to the Maya People of Toledo, but was later appealed by the Government of Belize, who began giving concessions to the US Capital Energy Company, causing grave distress to the Maya communities.
The verdict of this long pending case was finally delivered on July 25, 2013, setting a historic victory for Indigenous Peoples in Toledo. The decision confirms the ruling of 2010 recognizing customary land titles as collective property regimes for indigenous communities.
Read more on the ratification of the 2010 ruling.
Additional reading on the legal actions against petroleum activities: