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Wixarika Respond to Government Proposal For Biosphere Reserve in Wirikuta

Wixarika leaders are welcoming a new government proposal to declare a Biosphere Reserve in Wirikuta. However, they warn of inconsistencies and dangerous propaganda that is being instigated by First Majestic Silver, the Canadian mining company that wants to gut the Sacred Territory of the Wixárika (Huichol) people. Once again they demand to be included in the process as the government prepares to issue a final decree.

Press Release

THE WIXARIKA REGIONAL COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENSE OF WIRIKUTA (CRW) AND THE FRONT IN DEFENSE OF WIRIKUTA (FDW) WELCOME A BIOSPHERE RESERVE DECREE WHICH RESPECTS AND PROTECTS OUR BIOCULTURAL HERITAGE, WHERE ANY MINING ACTIVITY IS PROHIBITED AND WHICH RECOGNIZES THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF OUR PEOPLE AND OUR BROTHERS THE FARMERS AND INHABITANTS OF WIRIKUTA.

We the Wixaritari traditional authorities, civil and agrarian communities Waut+a-San Sebastián Teponahuaxtlán, Tuapurie-Santa Catarina Cuexcomatitlán, Muyewe Uweni Bancos de San Hipólito, who are integrated as the Wixárika Regional Council for the Defense of Wirikuta, wish to make known that in our communities we have held an internal consultation about the defense of our sacred ceremonial Wirikuta territory, which is threatened by aggressive mining and agribusiness projects.

We recall that on September 28, 2012, the National Human Rights Commission issued Recommendation 56/2012 on recognizing the collective cultural and territorial violation of human rights of the Wixárika People and the mestizos that inhabit the Wirikuta ejidos.

Also that through judicial proceedings brought by our people, the mining project known as La Luz, which seeks to exploit the minerals of the Sierra de Catorce, remains suspended. We recall our irrenounceable demand all existing concessions be cancelled on the more than 140,000 hectares covering the currently decreed State Ecological Reserve.

On 15 October 2012, the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) published the Previous Justification Study to declare the area known as Wirikuta, in San Luis Potosi, a Natural Protected Area (ANP) with the designation of Biosphere Reserve, covering an area of 191,504 hectares, located in the municipalities of Catorce, Cedral, Charcas, Matehuala, Vanegas, Villa de Guadalupe and Villa de la Paz, San Luis Potosi, which according to current legislation is open for a consultation period of 30 calendar days.

That on October 26, COFEMER published the draft decree of the Biosphere Reserve of Wirikuta, which divides the ANP into core and buffer areas, which explicitly prohibits exploration and mining, and also opens a consultation period for its approval.

We hereby declare the following:

We recognize and welcome the measures taken by the federal government, particularly in relation to the draft decree issued by COFEMER. However, we are convinced that the Biosphere Reserve decree must be based on human rights recognized by national and international law, and specifically those who recognize the particularities of indigenous populations, because only in this way will be guaranteed that the collective word of our people and the inhabitants of the area, will be considered in its true dimensions for management decisions in the area.

We flatly reject the existence of special use buffer zones to allow mining and metallurgical activities on the living territory of Wirikuta, the explicit plan of the Technical Justification Study, as the proper use of these lands is not exploitation but the maintenance of the balance of life. In this regard we note that we will reject any decree that means a regression on this topic with respect to the draft submitted to COFEMER, because it would be a betrayal of our people and the entire nation.

ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE: Wixarika Respond to Government Proposal For Biosphere Reserve in Wirikuta.

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