Indigenous communities suffer as Nicaragua shuts down NGOs that protect them

News 14.09.2022

As Nicaragua intensifies its crackdown on non-governmental organisations, Indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples on the country’s Caribbean Coast face increasing displacement and attacks from armed settlers with little help or oversight for rights violations, Right Livelihood and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) warned the UN Human Rights Council in a joint statement on Tuesday.

Read our entire statement here.

Addressing the 51st session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, the statement noted that since 2018, authorities had cancelled the legal status of more than 1,700 NGOs, of which 66 were operating on the Caribbean Coast.

“The most direct consequence of their closure is the lack of protection for Indigenous communities, who are increasingly exposed to armed attacks, intimidation, land dispossession and forced displacement,” our statement said. “Between July and August alone, 27 episodes of human rights violations were recorded in the region.”

At the same time, the Nicaraguan state has been stripping Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities of their territorial autonomy.

“While communities should be governed through traditional social structures, the state is promoting ‘parallel’ governments, thus exacerbating tensions in the region,” the statement said.

We called on Nicaragua to restore the rights of freedom of association and peaceful assembly, and to guarantee Indigenous peoples’ territorial rights.

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