SAN JUAN – The UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples urged the government of Belize to ensure respect for the rights of the country’s Mayan population.
“I am concerned by the inaction of the government of Belize to assist Maya villagers to protect their property rights in the face of threats to those rights,” Victoria Tauli-Corpuz said in a statement.
The special rapporteur’s call comes after the arrest of 12 Mayans charged with unlawful imprisonment for their actions to expel a non-Mayan individual from their village for allegedly building a house on ancient Maya ruins.
“It appears as though the repeated requests to local police by Santa Cruz village leaders for assistance in removing the individual from the archaeological site within their village lands went ignored,” Tauli-Corpuz said.
Santa Cruz lies west of Belize City, the largest city in the Central American country of more than 340,000 inhabitants.