Cocopa People’s Fishing Rights Case to Go to Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Despite months of talks between the Cocopa people, their representatives, human rights lawyers and federal and state environmental officials, the Cocopa are still banned from fishing their traditional waters in the Colorado River delta. “Eight thousand years, an entire culture, their traditions and their rights as indigenous people have not been sufficient for federal authorities to resolve this problem that the Cocopa suffer,” said Lorena Rosas, the coordinator of migrant and indigenous affairs for the Baja California Office of Human Rights.

In response to the lack of progress, the Baja California Office of Human Rights (Procuraduría de Derechos Humanos) has said that it will take the case before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights which is part of the Organization of American States (OAS).

Rosas states that since Mexico’s environmental protection agency, the Procuraduría Federal de Protección al Ambiente (Profepa), has not followed her organization’s recommendation to allow indigenous fishing in the Colorado River Delta Biosphere Reserve, or a similar recommendation from the National Commission on Human Rights (Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos), the case will now go to the OAS.

“The objective of presenting this case at the international level is so that the community of American states intervenes in the solution to this problem because federal authorities have not had the will to do so,” Rosas told the Mexicali newspaper La Crónica.

The Cocopa case will be taken to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Washington D.C. by Fabián Sánchez Matus, a lawyer with the Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción in Mexicali, said Rosas.