International Tribunal for the Rights of Nature Issues Sentence to Suspend Works on Mayan Train

The International Tribunal gave its verdict this morning at the offices of the Presidency of Mexico. The sentence is signed by 23 honorary judges from various countries of the world.

BOGOTÁ (apro). The International Tribunal for the Rights of Nature issued a sentence on Wednesday which orders the Mexican State and the government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to immediately suspend the construction of the Mayan Train in the Yucatan Peninsula due to ”crimes of ecocide and ethnocide” caused by the works.

The verdict, which was given in Quito, Ecuador, where the court is located, also includes the demilitarization of all the indigenous territories where the project is being carried out, one of the emblematic works of the López Obrador government.

The Court also urged an end to “the dispossession of communal lands” and called on the head of the Executive Power to “end the persecution, threats, harassment and intimidation against defenders of nature.”

Violations of the Mayan Train

The sentence, the product of a hearing that the International Tribunal for the Rights of Nature held in Valladolid, Yucatán, between March 9th and 12th, 2023, considers, “irrefutably”, that the Mayan Train violates the rights of the nature and biocultural rights of the Mayan people, who have been protectors and guardians of their territory since ancient times.

The project, the verdict explains, violates the cenotes, the caves, the coasts, the jungles, the biodiversity and the traditional crops of the Yucatan Peninsula, as well as the non-human beings that inhabit the ecosystems of that territory, “everything which configures crimes of ecocide and ethnocide.”

The Court “holds the Mexican State responsible for the violation of these fundamental rights of Nature and of the Mayan People.”

It adds that the work of the Mayan Train, which is carried out by the Mexican Army, violates the rights to water as a source of life, to integral health and to be free of contamination, pollution and toxic or radioactive waste.

The Verdict

Read by the president of the court, Maristella Svampa, the verdict orders the Mexican authorities to immediately suspend “the Tren Maya megaproject and all its components.”

The ruling also orders several comprehensive reparation measures, including an independent, interdisciplinary and intercultural audit, with the participation of the affected communities in the different sections of the Mayan Train, and requires the López Obrador government to deliver the Master Plan for the work, which has not been presented to date.

In addition, it instructs to “comprehensively repair and restore” all the ecosystems affected by the execution of the project and its collateral facilities, as well as “all the social impacts generated by this work in terms of communal ownership of land and territories.”

Ecological destruction in Three States: Raúl Vera

The priest and ex-bishop of Saltillo, Raúl Vera, one of the judges of the court in charge of the “Mayan Train Megaproject” case, said in an online press conference, held after the verdict was presented, that as a Mexican he feels “ashamed” of the “ ecocide” caused by the works and by the participation of the Executive Branch and the Army in this crime against nature.

“We are facing the destruction of the ecology of a Mexican territory that covers three states of the Republic (Yucatán, Campeche and Quintana Roo),” he said.

He pointed out that the refusal to present the Master Plan for the project is due to the fact that the authorities” are hiding the direct destruction against nature and attack the people who protect nature.”

The Mayan Train, which at the end of the first quarter of this year was 58% complete, is a 1,500-kilometer railway project that has cost 359,863 million pesos so far, 130% more than the estimated amount in 2020.

President López Obrador has repeatedly refused to admit that the Mayan Train causes ecological damage, and he has accused experts who criticize the work of being “naive” and being manipulated by “conservative interests”, although he has never specified to whom that terminology refers to.

The International Tribunal for the Rights of Nature, which is an ethical court, delivered its verdict on the Mayan Train this morning at the offices of the Presidency of Mexico. The sentence is signed by 23 honorary judges from various countries of the world.

Original article at
Translated by Schools for Chiapas.

Want to receive our weekly blog digest in your inbox?

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top