Article III. “Culturals Rights


1.         Mayan culture is the original basis of Guatemalan culture and, in conjunction with the other indigenous cultures, is an active and dynamic factor in the development and progress of Guatemalan society.


2.         The development of the national culture is therefore inconceivable without recognition and promotion of the culture of the indigenous peoples. Thus, in contrast with the past, educational and cultural policy must be oriented to focus on recognition, respect and encouragement of indigenous cultural values. With such recognition of cultural differences in mind, an effort must be made to promote contributions and exchanges that can help to enrich Guatemalan society.


3.         The Maya, Garifuna and Xinca peoples are the authors of their cultural development. The role of the State is to support that development by eliminating obstacles to the exercise of this right, adopting the necessary legislative and administrative measures to strengthen indigenous cultural development in all fields covered by the State and ensuring the participation of indigenous persons in decisions on the planning and execution of cultural programmes and projects through their organizations and institutions.“


Article III. E. “Use of indigenous dress


1.         The constitutional right to wear indigenous dress must be respected and guaranteed in all areas of national life. The Government shall take the measures provided for in part II, section A, of this agreement to combat any de facto discrimination regarding the use of indigenous dress.


2.         Furthermore, in a campaign to make the public more aware of the different manifestations of the Mayan, Garifuna and Xinca cultures, information shall be provided on the spiritual and cultural value of indigenous dress and the need to respect it.“  

         - Agreement on Social and Economic Aspects and Agrarian Situation  

Article I. “A. Participation and consensus-building


1.         In order to pursue a true, functional and participatory democracy, the process of social and economic development should be democratic and participatory and include: (a) consensus-building and dialogue among agents of socio-economic development; (b) consensus-building between these agents and State bodies in the formulation and implementation of development strategies; and (c) effective citizen participation in identifying, prioritizing and meeting their needs.


2.         Expanded social participation is a bulwark against corruption, privilege, distortions of development and the abuse of economic and political power to the detriment of society. Therefore, it is an instrument for the eradication of economic, social and political polarization in society.


3.         In addition to representing a factor in democratization, citizen participation in economic and social development is essential in order to promote productivity and economic growth, achieve a more equitable distribution of wealth and train human resources. It ensures transparency in public policies and their orientation towards the common good rather than special interests, the effective protection of the interests of the most vulnerable groups, efficiency in providing services and, consequently, the integral development of the individual.


4.         In this spirit, and in line with the agreements already concluded on the resettlement of the population groups uprooted by the armed conflict and on identity and rights of indigenous peoples, the Parties agree on the importance of establishing or strengthening mechanisms allowing the citizens and different social groups to exercise their rights effectively and participate fully in decision-making on the various matters affecting or involving them, with full awareness of both their individual and collective obligations to society, which they will fulfil responsibly.


5.         Strengthening social participation means that greater opportunities in social and economic decision-making should be offered to organized groups.  This assumes that all kinds of grass-roots organizations representing different interests will be recognized and encouraged.  It requires, in particular, the guarantee of full and effective rights for rural and urban workers and small farmers to participate, as organized entities, in the process of building consensus with the business sector or at the national level.  For this purpose, flexible laws and administrative regulations must be passed to grant legal personality or other forms of legal recognition to those organizations requesting it.


6.         This also assumes a major effort to promote a culture of consensus and capacity-building in business, labour and other types of organizations in order to increase their ability to plan and negotiate and effectively to assume the rights and duties inherent in democratic participation.




7.         Building consensus at the national, departmental and communal levels and among rural and urban units of production is essential in order to stimulate and stabilize economic and social growth. State structures must be adapted to fulfil this role of building consensus and reconciling interests, in order to be able to work effectively and efficiently to modernize the production sector, enhance competitiveness, promote economic growth and provide basic social services efficiently and universally.


Participation at the local level


8.         Bearing in mind that the people who live in a department or municipality, whether business owners, workers, members of cooperatives or community representatives, are the ones who can best define the measures that benefit or affect them, a package of instruments must be adopted for institutionalizing the decentralization of social and economic decision-making, involving a real transfer of government funds and of the authority to discuss and decide locally on the allocation of resources, how projects will be executed and the priorities and characteristics of government programmes or activities. In this way, government bodies will be able to base their actions on proposals arising from the reconciliation of interests among the various segments of society.


9.         Through this Agreement, the Government commits itself to take a series of steps designed to increase the people's participation in the various aspects of public life, including social and rural development policies. This series of reforms must enable structures that generate social conflict to be replaced by new relationships that ensure the consolidation of peace, as an expression of harmonious life together, and the strengthening of democracy, as a dynamic and perfectible process from which advances can be achieved through the participation of various segments of society in shaping the country's political, social and economic choices.


10.        In order to reinforce the people's ability to participate and, at the same time, the State's management capacity, the Government agrees to:




(a)        Promote a reform of the Municipal Code so that deputy mayors are appointed by the municipal mayor, taking into account the recommendations of local residents in an open town council meeting;




(b)        Foster social participation in the context of municipal autonomy, pursuing the process of decentralization to give more authority to municipal governments, and consequently, strengthening their technical, administrative and financial resources;


(c)        Establish and implement as soon as possible, in cooperation with the National Association of Municipalities, a municipal training programme that will serve as a framework for national efforts and international cooperation in this field. The programme will stress the training of municipal staff who will specialize in executing the new duties that will be the responsibility of the municipality as a result of decentralization, with an emphasis on land use planning, a land register, urban planning, financial management, project management and training of local organizations so that they can participate effectively in meeting their own needs;




(d)        Promote in the Congress a reform of the Act concerning the governance of the departments of the Republic, to the effect that the governor of the department would be appointed by the President of the Republic, taking into consideration the candidates nominated by the non-governmental representatives of the departmental development councils;




(e)        Regionalize health care, education and cultural services for indigenous people and ensure the full participation of indigenous organizations in the design and implementation of this process;“  

23.      Mexico  

                   Constitución Política de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos  

Artículo 4: “La nación mexicana tiene una composición pluricultural sustentada originalmente en sus pueblos indígenas.  La ley protegerá y promoverá el desarrollo des sus lenguas, culturas, usos, costumbres, recursos y formas específicas de organización social, y garantizará a sus integrantes el efectivo acceso a la jurisdicción del Estado.  En los juicios y procedimientos agrarios en que aquellos sean parte, se tomarán en cuenta sus prácticas y costumbres jurídicas en los términos que establezca la ley”.  

- Ley de derechos de los pueblos y comunidades indígenas del Estado de Oaxaca.  

Artículo 20: ”Los pueblos y comunidades indígenas tienen derecho social a practicar y revitalizar sus tradiciones y costumbres. El Estado, a través de sus Instituciones competentes y sus programas culturales, en el ámbito de sus atribuciones y presupuestos apoyará las comunidades indígenas en el mantenimiento, protección y desarrollo de sus manifestaciones culturales actuales y en el cuidado de las de sus ancestros que aún se conservan, incluyendo sitios arqueológicos, centros ceremoniales, monumentos históricos, tecnologías, artes, artesanías, expresiones musicales, literatura oral y escrita”.  

Artículo 21: ”El Estado, a través de sus Instituciones competentes, vigilará y en su caso ejercitará las acciones tendientes a la restitución de los bienes culturales e intelectuales que les hayan sido privados a los pueblos y comunidades indígenas sin su consentimiento”.    

24.      Nicaragua  

                    Constitution of Nicaragua (1987)  

Article 89: “The Communities of the Atlantic Coast have the right to preserve and develop their cultural identities within the framework of national unity, to be granted their own forms of forms of social organization, and to administer their local affairs according to their traditions.”


Article 90: “The Communities of the Atlantic Coast have the right to the free expression and preservation of their languages, art and culture.  The development of their culture and values enriches the national culture.  The state shall create special programs to enhance the exercise of these rights.”


Article 128: “The state protects the archeological, historical, linguistic, cultural and artistic patrimony of the nation.”


Article 180: “Furthermore, it [the state] guarantees the preservation of their culture, languages, religion, and customs.”  

25.       Panama  

                    - Constitución Política de Panamá  

Artículo 81: “Constituyen el patrimonio histórico de la Nación los sitios y objetos arqueológicos, los documentos, los monumentos históricos y otros bienes muebles o inmuebles que sean testimonio del pasado panameño. El Estado decretará la expropiación de los que se encuentren en manos de particulares.  

La Ley reglamentará lo concerniente a su custodia, fundada en la primacia histórica de los mismos y tomará las providencias necesarias para conciliarla con la factibilidad de programas de carácter comercial, turístico, industrial y de orden tecnológico”.  

Artículo 86: “EI Estado reconoce y respeta la identidad étnica de las comunidades indígenas nacionales, realizará programas tendientes a desarrollar los valores materiales, sociales y espirtuales propios de cada uno de sus culturas y creará una institución para el estudio, conservación, divulgación de las mismas y de sus lenguas, así como la promoción del desarrollo integral de dichos grupos humanos”.  

- Regimen Especial de la Comarca Kuna Yala (Ley 2 de 1938 - modificada por la Ley 99/98)  

Artículo 9: "Se entiende por cultura Kuna, sistema integrado y coherente de los valores, instituciones, historia, religión, lengua, costumbres y tradiciones que constituyen el fundamento identidad del pueblo Kuna, y que se manifiesta a través de la filosofía, el arte y sistema socio político.  Son creados y desarrollados por el hombre kuna a través de siglos y que forman parte de la cultura nacional y la enriquecen”.


- Ley 22 de 1983 (Crea la Comarca Emberá-Wounaan)


Artículo 22: "Los sitios y objetos arqueológicos, documentos históricos y cualquier otro bien, mueble o inmueble, que sean testimonio del pasado del pueblo Emberá y sus antecesores, que se encuentran en el área de la Comarca, estarán bajo la custodia de la Dirección Nacional del Patrimonio Histórico del Instituto Nacional de Cultura el cual realizará su labor en coordinación con las autoridades indígenas”.  

26.      Paraguay  

                    - Constitución de la República de Paraguay  

Artículo 62: "De los Pueblos Indígenas y Grupos Étnicos: Esta Constitución reconoce la existencia de los pueblos indígenas definidos como grupos de cultura anteriores a la formación y organización del Estado paraguayo”.  

Artículo 63: "De la Identidad étnica: Queda reconocido y garantizado el derecho de los pueblos indígenas a preservar y a desarrollar su identidad étnica en el respectivo habitat.  Tienen derecho, asimismo, a aplicar libremente sus sistemas de organización política, social, económica, cultural y religiosa, al igual que la voluntaria sujeción a sus normas consuetudinarias para la regulación de la convivencia interior siempre que ellas no atenten contra los derechos fundamentales establecidos en esta Constitución. En los conflictos jurisdiccionales se tendrá en cuenta el derecho consuetudinario indígena”.


Artículo 81:  "Del Patrimonio Cultural. Se arbitrarán los medios necesarios para la conservación, el rescate y la restauración de los objetos, documentos y espacios de valor histórico, arqueológico, paleontológico, artístico o científico, así como de sus respectivos entornos físicos, que hacen parte del patrimonio cultural de la Nación.


El Estado definirá y registrará aquellos que se encuentren en el país y, en su caso, gestionará la recuperación de los que se hallen en el extranjero.  Los organismos competentes se encargarán de la salvaguarda y del rescate de las diversas expresiones de la cultura oral y de la memoria colectiva de la Nación, cooperando con los particulares que persigan el mismo objetivo. Quedan prohibidos el uso inapropiado y el empleo desnaturalizante de dichos bienes, su destrucción, su alteración dolosa, la remoción de sus lugares originarios y su enajenación con fines de exportación. "  

                   - Ley 904 de 1981  

Artículo 1: "Esta Ley tienen por objeto la preservación social y cultural de las comunidades indígenas, la defensa de su patrimonio y sus tradiciones”.

27.      Peru  

                   constitución Política del Perú  

Artículo 2(19): “Toda persona tiene el derecho...[a] su identidad étnica y cultura.  El Estado reconoce y protege la pluralidad étnica y cultural de la Nación”.  

Artículo 89: "El Estado respeta la identidad cultural de las Comunidades Campesinas y Nativas”.  

28.       Venezuela  

         Constitución Política de la República de Venezuela


Artículo 121: "Los pueblos indígenas tienen derecho a mantener y desarrollar su identidad étnica y cultural, cosmovisión, valores, espiritualidad y sus lugares sagrados y de culto. El Estado fomentará la valoración y difusión de las manifestaciones culturales de los pueblos indígenas, los cuales tienen derecho a una educación propia y a un régimen educativo de carácter intercultural y bilingüe, atendiendo a sus particularidades socioculturales, valores y tradiciones”.  


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