In June this year, the Santa Rita hydropower dam in Guatemala was approved under the Clean Development Mechanism despite grave concerns about human rights violations related to the project.
Communities in the Alta Verapaz region report that all those who were consulted on the project were actually the employees of the project. Attempts for consultation by those who are affected by the project were ignored by the company. Even worse, conflict resulted in violence including the death of two children. In
August, the company responded with a repressive
operation involving more than 1500 police officers forcing indigenous families to take refuge in the mountains.
A complaint from the communities was accepted by the IFC Compliance Advisor Ombudsman, who is planning an investigation in January 2015. The
financing banks are concerned and will investigate the situation in January 2015. But the CDM – intended to mobilise clean development – does not seem to be concerned.
To address this lack of safeguards, AOSIS, supported by Uganda, proposed to establish a CDM grievance mechanism to respond to issues of concern raised by stakeholders impacted by implemented projects. A grievance mechanism is the much needed step to start implementing the Cancun decision that Parties should fully respect human rights in all climate related
actions. But shamefully, China, India, Egypt, Japan, Brazil and Togo want to delete the proposal.
ECO is dismayed: the Santa Rita project shows that climate action can result in human rights abuses if no accountability standards are in place. It also shows that all international obligations matter when addressing climate change, including the obligation to respect, protect, promote and fulfil human rights.
Dear delegates, stand by the international treaties signed by your respective countries and take the opportunity in Lima to establish a CDM grievance mechanism.