Argentines Reject Israeli Company in Jujuy Water Management

Argentines Reject Israeli Company in Jujuy Water Management

On Tuesday, the Indigenous peoples of the Jujuy province were excluded from the first meeting of the “Water Table,” in which local authorities presented details of the 2024 Agreement with the Israeli consulting firm Mekorot.

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Social organizations, water consortia, and neighborhood centers also did not participate in a meeting where Governor Carlos Sadir was expected to inform about his policy proposals before Mekorot’s arrival on June 6.

Indigenous communities called on citizens to protest in Santiago de Jujuy City’s Begrano Square to demand that the authorities comply with the International Labour Organization’s Convention 169, which stipulates that governments must conduct free, prior, and informed consultations with the local population regarding the management of common resources.

“No to Mekorot,” “No to the Water Agreement,” and “No to the Emergency Law” were some of the slogans raised by environmental and human rights defenders.

#FueraMekorot se sintió en la Mesa del Agua donde funcionarios del Gobierno de Jujuy y patronales del agro, del azúcar y del tabaco, avanzan con un Plan Maestro acordado con la empresa israeli a espaldas del pueblo trabajador y comunidades indígenas. pic.twitter.com/fWKXeUgVw9

— Natalia Morales (@NatuchaMorales)
May 21, 2024

The text reads, «Out with Mekorot! was heard at the Water Table, where Jujuy government’s officials and businessmen from the agriculture, sugar and tobacco industries are advancing with a Master Plan that was agreed upon with the Israeli company behind the backs of working people and Indigenous communities.»

Governor Sadir assured that this meeting is important because water is “a privilege” due to the consequences of global climate change. With that argument, his narrative aligns with the Economic Emergency Law, which has been questioned for its implications regarding the management of natural resources in Indigenous territories.

“The agreement with Mekorot will be based on projects that do not respond to the communities, but to the interests of companies through the Federal Investment Council (CFI),” local outlet Jujuy Dice commented.

“It aims to control the water without providing information about the agreement and without respecting the free, prior, and informed consultation,” it added, recalling that Mekorot has been accused of limiting Palestinians’ access to water.

In June 2023, pro-business political forces approved a reform to the constitution of the province of Jujuy that facilitates large-scale lithium mining, an activity that affects natural ecosystems and water sources.

Since then, popular organizations have been protesting incessantly despite the repression to which they have been subjected. National and international human rights organizations have expressed their concern about the events in Jujuy.

#FromTheSouth News Bits | Argentina: Protests against the authorities of Jujuy continue. pic.twitter.com/SojkPvCriZ

— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish)
July 17, 2023