Indigenous communities in Nicaragua are facing a humanitarian crisis
In an oral statement delivered at the 53rd session of the UN Human Rights Council, Right Livelihood drew attention to the deteriorating situation faced by the Miskito and Mayangna indigenous communities in Nicaragua. The statement highlighted the alarming increase in illegal invasions by armed settlers, resulting in a severe humanitarian crisis.
Since the beginning of this year, a staggering number of incidents have unfolded that underscores the gravity of the humanitarian crisis in Nicaragua.
Tragically, nine indigenous persons have been killed, five injured and nine kidnapped as a direct result of the illegal invasions on indigenous lands.
But, the ramifications go even further, as 39 indigenous families have been forcibly displaced in 2023 alone. Such displacements not only strip families of their access to shelter and community but also to their means of survival, such as food and safe water.
Right Livelihood strongly condemned the Nicaraguan government for its complicity in perpetuating this humanitarian crisis, and, more specifically, its failure to implement the Inter-American Court ruling demanding the removal of illegal settlers.
We also called on the Council to urge Nicaragua to guarantee the rights of indigenous peoples, particularly their right to freely express their consent, which should be obtained in advance and based on accurate information, to all decisions affecting their wellbeing.
These rights are guaranteed by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which Nicaragua voted in favour of during its adoption in 2007.
Acknowledging the severity of the situation, Right Livelihood directly asked the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to offer concrete recommendations on how states can help protect the rights of indigenous peoples on the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua.
In response, the High Commissioner announced that he was trying to organise a regional dialogue on the plight of indigenous peoples. He reassured the Council and us of his support for indigenous rights, including regarding the issues raised in our statement.
By pressuring the Nicaraguan government and the Council to take responsibility, we aimed to mobilise international efforts and provide much-needed relief to the indigenous communities enduring this grave humanitarian crisis.