Juanita Cabrera-Lopez (Guatemala)
Co-Chair, CEESP/WCEL, SPICEH
Juanita Cabrera Lopez is Co-Chair of CEESP/WCEL Specialist Group on Indigenous Peoples, Customary & Environmental Laws and Human Rights (SPICEH).
She is Maya Mam from the Western highlands of Guatemala. The Mam Nation is one of the largest indigenous nations in Guatemala and their territory is comprised by the departments of Quetzaltenango, Huehuetenango, Retalhuleu, San Marcos, and Chiapas, Mexico. Since the signing of the Peace Accords in 1996, Guatemala has facilitated a process for mineral exploration and exploitation.
The Ministry of Energy and Mines has granted a total of 117 exploration license and 8 exploitation licenses since 1997. Throughout this process indigenous peoples' self-determination has been violated as they have not been consulted in these development initiatives and their rights to lands, territories and natural resources have not been respected.
Juanita works with her community, her traditional representative body of the Mam people, and spiritual leaders of her people in defense of their lands, territories, and goods of their earth by helping to bring international attention to her peoples struggle. Juanita's main focus has been the self-determination of indigenous peoples, indigenous peoples political participation and leadership, conflicts stemming from natural resources in indigenous territories, and full and effective use and implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. She has also focused on access to maternal and childcare for indigenous women, post-conflict reconstruction, and political participation of indigenous peoples. She has experience with the human rights mechanisms within the United Nations and the Inter-American Human Rights System. She holds a Master of International Public Policy from Johns Hopkins University (SAIS) with a focus on International Law and Organizations.