Press Release

IACHR asks Inter-American Court to extend provisional measures in favor of communities of Miskitu indigenous people in Nicaragua

September 17, 2021

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) requested the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IAHR Court) to extend provisional measures in favor of the members of certain communities of the Miskitu indigenous people of the Northern Caribbean Coast Region in Nicaragua, to include Santa Fe community members among the beneficiaries.

The Commission observed that serious acts of violence have occurred in the Northern Caribbean Coast region, such as alleged kidnappings, murders, sexual assaults, threats, house burnings, robberies, ambushes, and attacks on residents. According to available information there have been death threats to some people in the Santa Fe community, the recent murder of a community member, and strong evidence of the presence of third armed parties seeking to appropriate community lands, who are also generating strong territorial pressure on the community, preventing them from accessing certain areas of their territory. All of this occurs in the context of the claiming of the ancestral territories of the Miskitu indigenous people and the land titling processes taking place in the area.

Considering the above and given the persistence of a context of severe conflict that has not yet been effectively addressed by the State, the IACHR deems that events as serious as these could occur again in the Santa Fe Community, including the accelerated destruction of their sources of subsistence, and the irreparable damage to their cultural identity as a result of the displacement from their ancestral territories and the loss of community life

The Commission observed that the recent murder of a Community member, in addition to the forced displacement of their most vulnerable people, has had a severe impact on their cultural and territorial integrity to the extent that it could lead to their displacement from the territory they claim as their ancestral property. This will expose them to a severe food crisis, caused by the lack of access to their sources of subsistence. It also recalls that, both in the case of the Community of Santa Fe and the communities that have been granted provisional measures, the presence of third parties has already led to the displacement of several families of community members from their territories.

The request for the provisional measures' extension requires the Inter American Court to order the State of Nicaragua to protect and guarantee the life, personal and territorial integrity and cultural identity of the members of the Santa Fe Community; and to allow the entry of a delegation of the Inter-American Court and Commission to monitor the implementation of these provisional measures on-site in order to aid in putting an end to the situation of extreme risk, which has been worsening over time.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote the observance and defense of human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 242/21

11:35 AM