Protection of indigenous territories and farming communities in  Chisec and Raxruha

Country: Guatemala
Organizations: AVSF and APROBA-SANK
Years supported: 2010-2011

Chisec and Raxruha, which are remote municipalities in the department of Alta Verapaz, were the scene of violent clashes during the Guatemalan conflicts that caused rural indigenous populations to flee to the mountains. After the conflict, these families, who had settled on land belonging to the State, initiated arduous administrative proceedings to obtain collective land titles.

Their land has been regularized, but they now fear that they will be obliged to sell out to major agro-food groups or landowners who are prepared to do anything to extend their holdings. In addition to their constant apprehension of losing their communal heritage to “land grabs”, these populations are also having a hard time developing their land.

In order to support these marginalized communities, the non-governmental organization AVSF, which has been active in Guatemala for 25 years, together with the grassroots organization APROBA-SANK, launched a programme for securing land tenure and for communal land and resource management.

Theirs is a multidimensional undertaking: establishment of communal cadastres recognized by municipal authorities and the land registry; coordinated land planning and development; agricultural diversification and sale of produce on local markets; consolidation of traditional Indian authorities; and mainstreaming of women in community development.

Pro Victimis supported the project after a pilot phase provided an opportunity to test the soundness of the approach.

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