|Credit: Edgardo Ayala/IPS|
Edgardo Ayala and Claudia Ávalos take a look at what has happened since the law's initial passage in April 2012 in Newly Recognised Indigenous Rights a Dead Letter? The law had to be approved by two successive assemblies, hence the April 2012 and June 2014 dates.
There have been changes full of good intentions, but the good intentions need a little orientation,” Betty Pérez, the head of the Salvadoran National Indigenous Coordinating Council (CCNIS), told Tierramérica.
The reform of article 63 of the constitution states that “El Salvador recognises indigenous peoples and will adopt policies aimed at maintaining and developing their ethnic and cultural identity, worldview, values and spirituality.”
These cover a wide range of areas, such as respect for indigenous peoples’ medicinal practices and their collective rights to land. And according to lawmakers of different stripes, the constitutional amendment pays a historic debt to the country’s native people and helps pull them out of the invisibility to which they had been condemned.
Pérez said a process of dialogue is underway between indigenous organisations and communities and the different government ministries involved, with a view to designing public policies, but that little headway has been made because “there is no unified vision and each group is following its own logic.”It's a step in the right direction but the practical applications of the law on the rights of indigenous peoples, and others connected to it, will take significant time and effort to realize.