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Nicaragua is Promoting Illegal Land Grabs in Indigenous Territories – Report

April 29, 2020
The Guardian

More than 40 members of indigenous communities have been killed since 2015, and many say settlers have been responsible

Nicaragua’s government is actively promoting illegal land grabs and granting concessions to mining and timber companies in indigenous territories, according to a report released on Wednesday.

Since 2015, more than 40 members of indigenous communities along Nicaragua’s northern Caribbean coast have been killed and many more wounded and kidnapped, according to the Oakland Institute, a California-based thinktank.

Residents say non-indigenous settlers have been responsible for the killings, but in many cases police do not even come to investigate.

The violence has increased in recent years, obscured first by the government’s crackdown on protests that began in April 2018 and more recently by the world’s attention being diverted by the coronavirus pandemic. So far this year, eight people have been killed in these communities, said Anuradha Mittal, the author of the report. Four of those deaths came in late March.

“Violence is escalating when the world is focused on Covid,” Mittal said “The people are like, ‘Forget about dying from Covid, we are dying from land invasions.’”

A request for comment from the Nicaraguan government on the contents of the report was not answered.

The spokeswoman for the United Nations high commissioner for human rights condemned attacks that occurred in late January when dozens of settlers attacked the Mayangna community inside the Bosawás Biosphere Reserve.