In the last several years, the government of Belize, through its
Ministry of Natural Resources, has granted at least seventeen concessions
for logging on lands totaling approximately 480,000 acres in the Toledo
District, its most southern political subdivision. The rural parts of the
Toledo District that are affected by the concessions are inhabited primarily
by Maya people, descendants of the Maya civilization that flourished
throughout substantial parts of Mexico and Central America hundreds of
years prior to European colonization in the Western Hemisphere. On
November 29, 1996, Maya organizations initiated in the Supreme Court of
Belize, the trial court of general jurisdiction, an action challenging the
granting of the logging concessions. In the lawsuit, the Maya assert rights
over lands and resources that are included in the concessions and seek to
have the concessions enjoined and declared in violation of Maya rights.
Anaya, S James
"Maya Aboriginal Land and Resource Rights and the Conflict Over Logging in Southern Belize,"
Yale Human Rights and Development Journal:
1, Article 2.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yhrdlj/vol1/iss1/2