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Tribunal urges government to cancel Zapotillo Dam

November 27, 2012

Citing various human rights violations, the Permanent People’s Tribunal (PPT) has criticized the Mexican and Jalisco governments over the construction of the Yesca and Zapotillo dams.

An international ethical tribunal, the PPT issued its verdict on November 8, declaring that the authorities had not only violated several international treaties, but also the Mexican Constitution, in the way they have carried out the projects.

The tribunal, whose findings are not legally binding, urged the government to cancel construction of the Zapotillo dam, which would cause the flooding of the towns of Temacapulin, Acasico and Palmarejo.

“It is a gross misrepresentation of the right to water to violate the rights of some communities to supply water to others,” PPT jury member Maude Barlow wrote on her blog at Instead of flooding these towns, Barlow suggested that the government “can find this water through conservation, rainwater harvesting, pollution control and protection of source water, and investing in new pipes and infrastructure.”

Regarding the Yesca hydroelectric dam that President Felipe Calderon inaugurated last week, the PPT called on authorities to fairly compensate all those affected by the reservoir, and complete the promised social work in the area.

The PPT also condemned the government over its aborted plans to build the Arcediano dam outside Guadalajara to provide water for the metro area. The project was cancelled in 2009, but only after residents of the Huentitan Canyon had been forced to resettle in small houses on the outskirts of Guadalajara.

The tribunal called on the government to properly compensate the former residents and allow them to return to their former community, although their homes have since been destroyed.

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