IACHR Expands Precautionary Measures in Favor of Three Indigenous Communities in Mayangna Sauni As Territory in Nicaragua

February 16, 2022

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Washington, D.C. — On February 13, 2022, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 9/2022, through which it expanded the precautionary protection measures in place in favor of indigenous people from the Musawas, Suniwas, and Wilú communities in Mayangna Sauni As territory in the Northern Caribbean Autonomous Region in Nicaragua, whom it deems to be at risk.

This expansion relates to the violence being faced by Miskitu communities as a result of the presence of "settlers" in these indigenous communities, who have not yet received the title deeds for their land. At the time, both the IACHR and the IA Court granted precautionary measures and provisional measures. Both of these remain in force.

The IACHR expressed its concern over the intensity of the violence that these communities are experiencing, which is reflected in the events that allegedly took place, the context of which was also assessed by the IA Court in the provisional measures in force.

According to the information available, heavily armed people from outside the community are allegedly seeking to seize the land of indigenous communities that have been waiting for the title deeds to this for years. It also indicated that the beneficiaries subsequently received threats.

In August and October 2021 alone, the IACHR warned that there were violent incidents targeting indigenous Mayangna people that resulted in violent deaths. It also noted that, despite the complaints made to local authorities, community representatives questioned the lack of investigation into these acts of violence. It was also alleged that national authorities are allegedly not investigating a criminal gang in the area whose members have been identified by relatives of victims of recent violence.

After requesting information from the State, the IACHR analyzed its response and identified that no information was presented that would allow it to conclude that the alleged risk situation has disappeared or has been effectively mitigated.

Under the terms of Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, the IACHR requested that the State of Nicaragua:

  1. a) adopt the culturally appropriate security measures needed to safeguard the life and personal integrity of indigenous people from the Musawas, Suniwas, and Wilú communities in Mayangna Sauni As territory in the Northern Caribbean Autonomous Region;
  2. agree on any measures to be implemented with the beneficiaries and their representatives; and
  3. report on the actions it implements to investigate the alleged events that led to the adoption of these precautionary measures so as to prevent them from being repeated.

The IACHR's granting of this precautionary measure and its adoption by the State does not entail a prejudgment on any petition that may eventually be filed before the inter-American system to allege that the rights protected by any applicable instruments have been violated.

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 respect for and to defend 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. 032/22

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