In 1993, the Government of Belize began granting logging concessions in Mayan territory to foreign companies without consulting with indigenous (Yucatec, Mopan, and Q’eqchi’ Maya) neither afrodescendant communities (Garífuna).
In 1996 the Ministry of Natural Resources granted to a Atlantic Industries (a malasyan timber corporation) for log over 200,000 hectares of rain forest in the Toledo District. Following the concession, the Toledo Maya Cultural Council (TMCC) (representing 37 Maya indigenous communities), filed a claim in the Supreme Court of Belize. As a result of the failure of domestic litigation the Maya communities submitted a petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in 1998.
The IACHR resolves that “the State of Belize had violated the Maya communities’ rights to property by not recognizing their communal property right to their ancestral lands and territories” and recommended the government “to delimit, demarcate and title the territory through a free, informed, prior consultation, and to abstain, until then, from any act that might affect this territory” in the national court the case has been unresolved and the Government of Belize continues granting concessions not just for timber but also for oil exploitation in Mayan territories.
Further, others projects such as a sawmill and a paved road into the forest are been built.
The local people demand to be involved in decision-making and be recognized as subject of rights.
In 2000 the government and the Mayan communities signed the “Ten Points of Agreement” for the recognizing the Maya rights for their traditional lands and resources. Those agreements have been ignored by the State.