369. The total number of certifications and titles processed for all communities, including ones with indigenous populations, between January 2003 and 30 June 2008 was as follows.
Area of land
1 032 411
2 121 397
San Luis Potosí
6 693 991
370. The measures and policies introduced by the Ministry of Agrarian Reform to ensure that the rights of indigenous peoples are respected include the following actions, which have already been implemented.
371. The Office of the Attorney General for Agrarian Affairs, in cooperation with the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples, is undertaking a research project on agrarian disputes in ejidos and indigenous communities. The objective is to contribute to the planning of measures and policies designed to resolve issues that arise in ejidos and indigenous communities. In addition, a workshop for civil servants is offered in order to raise their awareness of the diverse nature of Mexico’s indigenous population so that, in the performance of their duties, they are able to offer specialized assistance and to recognize this diversity as an opportunity while avoiding exclusion and discrimination. This workshop has two parts; one for senior management and the other for staff throughout the organization. The workshop also seeks to build participants’ skills in agrarian conciliation and arbitration.
372. Between 1992 and April 2008, the Office of the Attorney General for Agrarian Affairs provided legal assistance and representation, using interpreters where necessary, in 97,305 cases for the benefit of 969,510 indigenous persons.
373. Within the framework of the Agrarian Act, the efforts of the Office of the Attorney General for Agrarian Affairs to regularize ownership of land held under the communal system are based on the understanding that the communities in question are composed of groups of persons living in rural areas who share certain traditions, practices and customs. The Constitution recognizes the legal personality of these communities and affords special protection for their assets and resources.
374. The Office of the Attorney General for Agrarian Affairs respects these communities, which have preserved their way of life and their ethnic and linguistic traditions while maintaining traditional forms of social and political organization. It also has regard for the links that these communities have with the land, including land that they have owned collectively since time immemorial. In the light of these considerations, a total of 11,655,473 hectares of communal lands were regularized between January 1993 and July 2008.
375. The Office of the Attorney General for Agrarian Affairs provides oversight for ejido and communal land that is the source of the livelihoods of these agrarian communities. These tracts are made up of those lands that the communal assemblies have not earmarked for human settlement or designated as plots for the exclusive use of individual members. A total of 62,563,089 hectares of common land belonging to agrarian communities was regularized between January 1993 and July 2008.
376. With regard to the transmission of land rights, article 17 of the Agrarian Act stipulates that communal landholders may name the person whom they wish to inherit their land and other rights; to this end, they may prepare a list containing the name of the person whom they have decided should inherit their rights, followed by the names of persons who may inherit those rights by succession.
377. Following the publication in the Diario Oficial de la Federación of 28 June 2007 of standards for the provision of advisory assistance in connection with the registration of lists of authorized heirs under the Agrarian Act and for their preparation, lawyers specializing in agrarian issues have been authorized to serve as registrars with whom agrarian wills may be deposited. This measure contributes to the adoption, development and implementation of this instrument, which seeks to provide legal certainty in respect of landownership.
378. With regard to indigenous communities’ agrarian land rights, it is important to note that the procedures established to provide legal certainty in respect of land tenure are based on an implicit recognition of the right to equality, freedom, opportunity and non-discrimination.
379. All presidential decisions taken with regard to communal land rights since 2005 have respected the rights of indigenous communities on a wholly non-discriminatory basis. The only criterion on which such decisions are based is the right to the land in question.
380. The decisions grant the beneficiaries full legal certainty and the corresponding documentation on their land, which is contained in what is referred to as the “basic agrarian file”. This file contains the relevant presidential decision, the deed showing the boundaries of the tract and the official title plan of the property. All of these documents are duly registered and placed on file in the National Agrarian Land Registry.
381. It is the federal executive’s policy to resolve agrarian disputes through the Ministry of Agrarian Reform with the aim of preserving social peace and creating favourable conditions for development.
382. Within the framework of its programme for addressing social disputes in rural areas, the Ministry of Agrarian Reform has recognized and protected the rights of indigenous peoples. The settlement agreements for such disputes, which are signed by both parties with the concurrence of the Agrarian Section, establish the distribution of land rights.
383. Since 2005, 878 disputes have been resolved regarding a total area of 407,883 hectares of land (this figure includes what are known as “hot spots”).
384. Statistics concerning the programme for addressing social disputes in rural areas, which is commonly known as the “hot-spot programme”, are as follows:
The programme was established in 2003
While it was operational, 14 critical disputes were identified
In 2006, only 4 of these 14 disputes had not yet been settled, and significant progress had been made towards the resolution of 3 of them, which concerned land located in Chiapas, Oaxaca and Michocacán:
In the community of the Lacandona area of the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, 33 disputes involving an area of 32,957 hectares were resolved definitively
In the State of Oaxaca, two disputes concerning 6,415 hectares of land which dated back 66 years were resolved, benefiting 1,191 members of the Mixtec and Zapotec peoples
In the Purepecha Plateau in the State of Michoacán, two disputes regarding 4,413 hectares of land were resolved, benefiting 1,419 persons
Disputes regarding the possession and/or ownership of land were also resolved in the Huasteca region, which encompasses the states of Tamaulipas, Veracruz, San Luis Potosí and Puebla.