Stand With Indigenous Land Defenders
Top: Community meeting on the court hearing in Santa Fe, November 2018. © The Oakland Institute. Bottom: Anuradha Mittal speaking at McDonald's worker protest June 2020. © Brooke Anderson.
“This is our land. We would plant, hunt, farm, and gather harvest. But with the invasion of colonos, we live in terror. We experience killings and kidnappings. People have disappeared. But the government has yet to look our way.”A Miskitu Community leader, Nicaragua
Our research and advocacy provides a bullhorn to the disenfranchised and unassailable evidence in the struggle to hold powerful institutions accountable. Not blinded or constrained by ideological or political biases, our work over the past year targeted actors ranging from the World Bank and multinational corporate conglomerates, to several governments.
Our groundbreaking report, Nicaragua’s Failed Revolution shattered the silence around the incessant violence faced by the Indigenous communities in the Caribbean Coast Autonomous Regions. We exposed the actors involved – foreign gold mining firms, national and international actors in logging and cattle ranching industry, as well as prominent Nicaraguan officials. We unveiled how the Nicaraguan government has made millions of hectares available for mining, logging, and cattle ranching – attracting transnational corporations and driving thousands of colonos to autonomous regions at the expense of Indigenous lives and livelihoods while officials were directly engaging in illegal land sales.
Released in both English and Spanish, the report generated millions of media impressions, including coverage in the New York Times, Guardian, Le Monde, Washington Post, and ABC News, among others. A PBS Newshour segment, “The Cost of Beef,” confirmed our findings that cattle ranching has become a key cause for violent land invasions as beef exports from Nicaragua to the US increase amidst COVID, generating widespread outrage.
Our advocacy is lifting the plight of the Indigenous in Nicaragua with United Nations officials and agencies, US Congressional committees, Canadian Parliament and the European Union, as well as the Inter-American Court for Human Rights where the Miskitu communities have brought their case against the Nicaraguan government.
Following the PBS NewsHour coverage of our research exposing the expansion of pasturelands for cattle ranching is driving violence against the Indigenous, the Nicaraguan government is taking steps to ensure conflict beef does not end up on U.S. grocery store shelves. We will closely monitor the situation.
“We are facing a human rights and eco-cultural crisis. What we have learned from this report is even worse: the government has sold much more land than we knew, government officials are involved in illegal land sales… This report is a ray of sunshine telling the world the truth of our situation.”Lottie Cunningham, 2020 Right Livelihood Laureate and Founder of the Center for Justice and Human Rights of the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua (CEJUDHCAN)
Your continued support ensures we remain relentless, fierce, and steadfast in our research and advocacy in defense of the right to land and life for all.
As our work continues, we hope you will join us in taking on the struggles that never receive the justice they deserve.