Episode 2.9: Indigenous Environmental Rights: The Maya of Belize
In this episode, we speak with Cristina Coc, Executive Director of the Julian Cho Society and Spokesperson for the Toledo Alcaldes Association/Maya Leaders Alliance, and Filiberto Penados, Chair, Julian Cho Society about the connections between Indigenous rights and biodiversity conservation. Together, we take a closer look at the fight for recognition of the Maya people's rights to land in Belize. Overall, we conclude that this struggle is a global struggle, not just for Indigenous rights to land, but for survival of all on a just and healthy planet
Dr. Filiberto Penados, is a Maya activist-scholar from Succotz Village in Belize. His work focuses on indigenous education, development and future-making. He has held faculty positions at the University of Belize and Galen University and has been adjunct faculty at University of Toronto, University of Belize and University of Manitoba. He has a long history of involvement in indigenous movements in Belize and Central America. He is currently Founding Advisor at the Centre for Engaged Learning Abroad and Chair of the Julian Cho Society.
Cristina Coc is a Q'eqchi Maya woman born and raised in Southern Belize. Ms. Coc is a human rights and indigenous activist who has been at the forefront of the Maya land rights movement in the Toledo, Belize. She has been a staunch advocate for the recognition and respect of indigenous peoples rights to land and resources. Ms. Coc has helped to lead the strategic Maya land rights litigation of the Q'eqchi and Mopan of Toledo since 2005 and was instrumental in helping to bring a series of legal victories to the Maya which culminated in the 2015 Caribbean Court of Justice Consent Order which affirms the rights of the Maya to their lands. Coc continues to spearhead the implementation of this historic decision and order through the mapping of indigenous territory, the creation of new legislation to protect affirmed rights and through strategic education and outreach programs at the Julian Cho Society.