DECLARATION OF THE ORIGINAL PEOPLES OF EL SALVADOR, NAHUAT, LENKAS AND KAKAWIRAS, INDIGENOUS PEOPLES OF THE SACRED LAND OF THE SMILING JAGUAR, DURING THE 18TH SESSION OF THE PERMANENT FORUM ON INDIGENOUS ISSUES. FROM 22 APRIL TO 3 MAY 2019.
Honorable Madam Chair:
The original peoples of El Salvador, Indigenous Peoples of the Sacred Land of the Smiling Jaguar, greet you and the members of the Permanent Forum, as well as the representatives of Indigenous Nations from around the world, and we wish to present ourselves here by submitting the following recommendations, so that the State of El Salvador may understand how to deal with the problems that affect us:
- We recommend that the State of El Salvador correct the texts used for teaching the Nahuat language so that they do not fall into folklorism, but rather that they become a foundation to elevate the true original culture of the country. We also recommend that they prevent indigenist individuals from appropriating knowledge and that priority be given to original communities so that they themselves can develop their own methods for the revitalization of languages.
- We view with concern the damage suffered by the biosphere of Cerro del Aguila, in the municipality of Juayúa, and in the UNESCO-protected areas of Aneca-Ilamatepeq, where even dams are built on the Sensunapan River, which is part of a greedy process against our heritage, as is also the case of Tacuzcalco of Nahuilingo, where the sacred site is being destroyed—all of this is in Sonsonate. And this could be avoided if the State of El Salvador ratified and implemented ILO Convention 169 and/or took the decision to comply with ILO Convention 107.
- We demand that the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador adopt a COMPREHENSIVE WATER LAW that AVOIDS THE PRIVATIZATION OF VITAL LIQUID and that includes the HUMAN RIGHT TO WATER, as well as the regulation for the well-being of TRANSBOUNDARY WATERS, to protect our territory from collateral damage resulting from the contamination of aquifers and their basins. We also believe that the Salvadoran State must safeguard the autonomy of our peoples, starting with food sovereignty by means of a FOOD SOVEREIGNTY LAW that guarantees the protection of our original seeds in such a way that generates necessary spaces for the conservation of our ancestral practices and our nourishment.
- It is essential to pay attention to development projects that only increase El Salvador’s external debt and expose future generations to a lack of territorial autonomy that could affect our natural spaces at risk of being granted as concessions and/or privatized, and which we, as Indigenous Peoples, seek to preserve.
- Criminal groups, especially gangs, are creating insecurity by causing forced displacement from our territories, as these groups have usurped entire areas and lands belonging to indigenous brotherhoods or original peoples’ organizations, and they have extorted indigenous traders and artisans, endangering their lives. Therefore, we demand that the Salvadoran State implement effective strategies to restore peace and tranquility to our communities.
- We request that the Government of El Salvador create a TRUTH COMMISSION to bring clarity to the genocide-ethnocide of 1932, so that, on the basis of this truth, processes of compensation for the damages suffered by the Indigenous Peoples may be implemented. At the same time, we denounce any version of AMNESTY that would exonerate from guilt the perpetrators of past and present murders and massacres.
- We denounce the fact that the Salvadoran State has not generated actions to implement the Public Policy for Indigenous Peoples, a policy that was built by and for Indigenous Peoples, and which is being displaced by a National Action Plan that has not undergone consultation, a clear violation of Article 19 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
- Finally, we ask the incoming government not to centralize an indigenist NGO to such an extent that there is no legitimate representation in vital areas such as the Indigenous Fund; rather, we request that the next government take into account the voice of all original peoples, organizations and communities in the country.
May the Great Creator of the Universe give you wisdom and light to always guide your paths. Pajpadiush, Umetiu.