Hundreds of organizations from around the world call for an end to Industria Chiquibul's violence in Guatemala

Action by the Movement of Communities in Defense of Water Qana’ Ch’och’, for World Water Day. March 2024.

On April 5th, organizations from the around the world sent a letter to Guatemalan national authorities demanding an immediate end to the violence, criminalization and abuse committed by palm oil company Industria Chiquibul against peasant and indigenous communities in the municipality of Sayaxché, in the northern region of the country.
At the same time, the 115 organizations from 39 countries expressed their support and solidarity with the Maya Q'eqchi community of Santa Elena and demanded a halt to the "fake consultation process and completely irrational international certification process that Industria Chiquibul initiated with the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil)."

The letter was addressed to the President of the Republic, the Ministries of Agriculture and Environment, the Human Rights and Environmental Commissions of the Congress of the Republic, and the Public Prosecutor's Office. The letter lists a consecution of incidents that the communities have suffered from, including the following: the company's illegal installation of a security detail; threats; intimidation with weapons; and criminalization—including through false accusations and arbitrary detentions—carried out in collusion with the Police and the Judiciary.

The organizations warn that, far from being isolated events, the situation exemplifies a pattern of violence that is intrinsic to the oil palm industry. "Over the past decade, Industria Chiquibul (of Unisource Group S.A.) has racked up a streak of violations of indigenous and peasant communities' rights, including illegal appropriation of community lands in the village of Carolina, contamination of the San Román River, criminalization, (...) violations of labor rights, and deforestation." The organizations also denounce the systemic violence against women whose territories have been invaded or surrounded by oil palm plantations.

Read the whole letter here.