Managua-Guadalajara-Geneva, 24 February 2022 – Human rights groups and legal representatives for the indigenous communities of the Mayangna Sauni As (MSA), filed today a petition and request for precautionary measures to protect the physical, psychological and moral integrity of their members to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).
Since 2020, there has been an increase in massacres, killings, torture, sexual violence, harassment and violent invasions that have forcibly displaced the indigenous communities of the MSA Territory from their ancestral lands. The attacks are perpetrated by non-indigenous settlers and armed criminal gangs, in a context of total impunity, in which the State has not taken the necessary measures to protect and defend the human rights of these indigenous people.
These attacks also include a pattern of deliberate destruction of the communities' means of subsistence, including their natural resources, means of transport, forests, livestock and crops, destroying their traditional livelihoods, and increasing attacks on those who defend their rights.
"Every day our communities are attacked, and we are afraid. There are already dozens of murders of our leaders and our people simply for defending our lands and territory. None of these cases have been properly investigated by the State authorities, despite the denunciations we have made from the communities. That is why we are going to the Inter-American Commission", said one of the petitioners, who for security reasons did not want to reveal his identity.
The Mayangna Sauni As Territory is located in the UNESCO protected Bosawás Biosphere Reserve, in the Autonomous Region of the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua. The State policy of internal colonisation in this region has encouraged the immigration of non-indigenous people, thus favouring the advance of the agricultural frontier, extensive cattle ranching and an extractivist policy. All of this has degraded the livelihoods and environment of indigenous peoples, given the overexploitation of forests, the expansion of monocultures such as African palm, and the uncontrolled increase of mining activity in indigenous territories.
"The State of Nicaragua has failed to comply with its obligations under the international human rights law treaties to which it is a signatory. It is imperative that it assumes its role and respects and protects the human rights of these indigenous communities by putting an end to the violence against them," said the petitioners' lawyers.
The Centro de Asistencia Legal a Pueblos Indígenas (CALPI), the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), and the Centro Universitario por la Dignidad y la Justicia "Francisco Suárez, SJ" of the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente (CUDJ-ITESOm) request the IACHR to study this case with the urgency required, to grant precautionary measures and to defend the rights of these communities to life, to not be subjected to torture and ill-treatment, and to defend their human rights to land and territory.
For more information, please contact:
CALPI: + (505) 8853 3285
ITESO: Vanesa Robles: + (52) 33 1300 5845
OMCT: Iolanda Jaquemet: + (41) 79 539 41 06