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.
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Belize Supreme Court Documents:
Judgments of the Supreme Court
Brief to the Supreme Court and Appendices
Affidavits submitted by Maya villagers and leaders
Expert and Other Affidavits
Documents submitted by the Government of Belize
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
- Supplementary Request for Precautionary
Measures, October 3, 2000. [PDF]
- Request for Precautionary
October 26, 1999. [PDF]
Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
Channel 5 Belize
Belize Channel 7 Daily News
- 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
- 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).