For hundreds of years indigenous Mayan Ch’orti’ have suffered from extreme poverty, marginalization, and racism. Hand in hand with the communities, COMUNDICH has been defending and protecting human, individual and collective rights.
At the centre of their struggle has been the ownership of land and recognition of indigenous self-government. The struggle has been difficult – seven indigenous leaders have been murdered over the last 7 years. However, through persistence, indigenous spirituality and strong advocacy, COMUNDICH achieved the lawful transfer of land titles of uprooted territories to indigenous communities and legalized indigenous mayors’ authority. Incredible achievements in a short period of time!
However, indigenous leaders are still being criminalized for standing up for their rights. In May 2017, 6 Indigenous leaders were wrongfully incarcerated. COMUNDICH defended them. All 6 leaders were finally cleared and released in January 2019 – 20 months later!
COMUNDICH’s efforts have been recognized internationally. In January 2018, COMUNDICH received the Alice Zachman prize for their struggle to gain indigenous rights.
COMUNDICH is also providing technical support to lift the communities out of poverty. Food security has improved and economic initiatives are being developed. The communities are planting vegetable gardens, installing improved stoves, and developing chicken farms. These are bright lights in an otherwise difficult situation.