Maya Communities of Southern Belize
On June 28, 2010 the Supreme Court of Belize rendered a judgment in favor of the Maya communities of southern Belize. IPLP Program staff attorneys Maia Campbell and Seanna Howard coordinated a team of lawyers and students to assist Maya communities file and litigate a class action lawsuit that resulted in the affirmation of their traditional land rights. The recent judgment follows a ruling handed down by the Supreme Court of Belize in 2007 in favor of the two Maya communities of Santa Cruz and Conejo. That decision, also achieved with the IPLP Progam's assistance, recognized the rights the rights of these two communities to occupation and use of their lands, and was the first judicial decision to rely on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which had been passed just weeks before. Maya leaders and the IPLP Program sought to have the decision apply to all 38 Maya villages in Southern Belize, and eventually filed a second lawsuit to do so. Case 366, as it became known, should set the way for the administrative mechanisms to legally secure the land rights of all Maya villages. Download a PDF for more background information on this case.
To access Documents, Media Coverage, or Multimedia resources related to this case, click on the appropriate label below and the window will expand.
Belize Supreme Court Documents:Judgments of the Supreme Court
- Brief to the Court (Skeleton Argument of the Claimants)
- Appendix B to the Brief to the Court (International Legal Obligations of Belize)
- Appendix C to the Brief to the Court (Protection of Indigenous Customary Property Rights by the Common Law)
- Maya Leaders Alliance Affidavit
- Manuel Caal Affidavit Final
- Susano Canti Affidavit Final
- Venancio Canti Affidavit Final
- Manuel Coy Affidavit Final
- Marcelina Cal Teul Final
- Marciano Cal Affidavit Final
- John Makin Affidavit
- Melina Makin Affidavit Final
- Perfecto Makin Affidavit Final
- Isaiah Sho Affidavit Final
- Raymundo Sho Affidavit Final
- Higinio Teul Affidavit Final
- Final Affidavit of Thomas Caal [map]
- First Affidavit of Elizabeth Grandia
- Second Affidavit of Elizabeth Grandia filed June 13, 2007
- Final Affidavit of David Itch [map]
- First Affidavit of Grant Jones
- Second Affidavit of Grant Jones filed June 13, 2007
- Final Affidavit of Kent McNeil
- First Affidavit of Joel Wainwright
- Second Affidavit of Joel Wainwright filed June 13, 2007
- First Affidavit of Richard Wilk
- Second Affidavit of Richard Wilk filed June 13, 2007
- Brief to the Court of the Government of Belize (Skeleton Argument)
- Attorney General Defence
- Lindsay Belisle Affidavit
- Armin Cansino Affidavit
- Roy Cayetano Affidavit
- Andre Cho Affidavit
- Percival Cho Affidavit
- Final Affidavit of Percival Cho
- Ismael Fabro Affidavit
- Final Affidcavit of Ismael Fabro
- P. Noreen Fairweather Affidavit
- Final Affidavit of Seifuddin Munoz
- Albert Roches Affidavit
Inter-American Commission Documents:
- Case of Maya Indigenous Communities of Belize, Inter-Am. C.H.R., Case 12.053, Report No. 40/04, October 12, 2004 (Final Report) [PDF]
- Case of Maya Indigenous Communities of Belize, Inter-Am. C.H.R., Report No. 96/03, October 24, 2003 (Preliminary Report) [PDF]
- Petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights submitted by the Toledo Maya Cultural Council on behalf of the Maya Communities of the Toledo District [PDF]
- Maya Indigenous Communities and their Members - Belize, C.H.R., Report No. 78/00, October 5, 2000, (finding the petition admissible). En español.
- Supplementary Request for Precautionary Measures, October 3, 2000. [PDF]
- Request for Precautionary Measures, October 26, 1999. [PDF]
- MLA Update to IACHR, November, 2011. [PDF]
- Special Rapporteur’s report to the Human Rights Council, March, 2007
- Urgent appeal to the UN Special Rapporteur, January, 2006
Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
- CERD Letter to the Government of Belize, March 2008
- CERD Letter to the Government of Belize, August, 2007
- CERD Letter to Belize, March, 2007
- Communication to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, October, 2006
- MLA update to CERD, August, 2011
- Maya Land Rights: the Conejo and Santa Cruz Lawsuits. This short documentary was filmed and produced by the IPLP Program and Gage & Gage Productions in 2007.
Channel 5 Belize
- October 18, 2007 - mms://22.214.171.124/aznn/belize/belizeoct182007.wmv [transcript]
- June 21, 2007 - mms://126.96.36.199/aznn/belize/belizejune212007.wmv
- June 20, 2007 - mms://188.8.131.52/aznn/belize/belizejune202007.wmv
- April 3, 2007 - mms://184.108.40.206/aznn/belize/Channel5.wmv [transcript]
Belize Channel 7 Daily News
- October 18, 2007 - mms://220.127.116.11/aznn/belize/channel7.wmv October 18, 2007 - mms://18.104.22.168/aznn/belize/channel7_2.wmv April 3, 2007 -mms://22.214.171.124/aznn/belize/TropicalVision.wmv
- "Mayas take GOB to Court over Land" The Guardian News From Belize, April 3, 2007
- "The Maya march in the City!" Amandala Online, April 2, 2007
- Oct 19, 2007 - Massive court victory for Santa Cruz and Conejo Maya
- Oct 18, 2007 - UA Law Professor and Students Help Secure Constitutional Rights for the Maya Communities of Belize
- Oct 10, 2007 - Arizona Law Receives $125,000 Grant for Legal Work in Indigenous Communities in Belize
- June 22, 2007 - GOB lawyer claims Maya case threatens Belize's sovereignty
- April 4, 2007 - UA Law Professor and Students Help Secure Constitutional Rights for the Maya Communities of Belize
- April 3, 2007 - Maya Communities Take Action to Claim Their Constitutional Rights
- January 21, 2004 - Inter-American Commission finds Belize is violating Maya Human Rights.
- October 25, 2000 - Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to hear Maya case against Government of Belize.
- August 10, 1998 - Toledo Maya Cultural Council files petition against the Government of Belize.
- S. James Anaya, Maya Aboriginal Land and Resource Rights and the Conflict Over Logging in Southern Belize, 1 Yale Hum. Rts. & Dev. L.J. 17 (1998) (article based on expert report submitted to Belize Supreme Court).
- S. James Anaya, The Maya Petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights: Indigenous Land and Resource Rights, and the Conflict over Logging and Oil in Southern Belize, in GIVING MEANING TO ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS 180 (Isfahan Merali & Valerie Oosterveld eds., Univ. Penn. Press 2001).
- S. James Anaya, Reparations for Neglect of Indigenous Land Rights at the Intersection of Domestic and International Law - The Maya Cases in the Supreme Court of Belize ( in Reparations to Indigenous Peoples, Oxford University Press, Forthcoming).