Photo by Alex McDougall/Al Jazeera

Nicaragua must protect indigenous communities from violence and land grabs

News 14.09.2023

Indigenous peoples in the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua are facing an increasingly dire situation, Right Livelihood, in collaboration with CEJIL and the Red de Defensoras Indigenas (RDI), said in a joint statement at the 54th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

You can read the full statement here.

Since 2015, the Miskitu and Mayangna indigenous communities have endured a relentless onslaught by illegal settlers who have brazenly entered their ancestral lands, destroying their livelihoods and food sources.

Over time, these attacks have given rise to a humanitarian crisis as indigenous community members are increasingly displaced from their homes. This displacement is exacerbated by a lack of access to essential sanitation, food, and obstacles to traditional hunting and fishing practices.

The gravity of these attacks cannot be overstated, we told the Council. Indigenous peoples have been subjected to killings, kidnappings, death threats and sexual violence. The first half of 2023 has witnessed the deaths of 11 community members, with a staggering 418 violent incidents reported, in stark contrast to the 92 incidents recorded in 2022. 

Not only is the Nicaraguan government allowing these attacks to continue but they are also promoting the illegal land grabs of indigenous land by transnational corporations. This perpetuates the systemic violence against indigenous communities and goes against the protection measures granted by the Inter-American Human Rights System.

To attain justice for the affected communities, we urged the Council to continue scrutinising Nicarauga’s perpetuation of the crisis and emphasised the importance of the UN’s Group of Experts on Nicaragua receiving the support it needs to carry out its mission.

The plight of indigenous communities in Nicaragua demands our collective attention and action. In a world striving for justice and equity, we cannot turn a blind eye to the suffering of these communities.

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