Amnesty International: Nicaragua Canal Sidelines Indigenous Peoples

“Trading on people’s basic human rights for the sake of money is not only morally questionable but also illegal,” the organization declared.

Wilfredo Miranda Aburto  (confidencial.com.ni)

Nicaraguan indigenous communities have criticized the lack of consultation by the government on its canal project. Photo: Carlos Herrera/confidencial
Nicaraguan indigenous communities have criticized the lack of consultation by the government on its canal project. Photo: Carlos Herrera/confidencial

HAVANA TIMES — The global organization Amnesty International (AI) criticized the “reckless” manner in which Daniel Ortega’s government is “handling a multi-billion dollar project that will see a canal cutting the country in two” and “will displace tens of thousands of people.”

In a communiqué issued by AI and signed by Americas Director Erika Guevara, the organization underscores that the canal project to be executed by Chinese entrepreneur Wang Jing puts the livelihoods of these communities at risk. Official data estimate that as many as 30,000 people will be affected, while independent studies by Red Local and the Humboldt Center calculate that this figure could be as high as 100,000.

“The fact that Nicaragua is planning to go ahead with a mega project that will destroy the lives of many communities without even properly taking their views into consideration is outrageous,” said Guevera, referring to the appeal advanced by three indigenous and Afro-Nicaraguan communities in Rama and Kriol.

At the beginning of January, members of these communities condemned central government “pressure” to sign their approval of the canal project. The governments of Rama and Kriol claimed their right to free, prior and informed consent had been violated.

“Trading on people’s basic human rights for the sake of money is not only morally questionable but also illegal. Authorities in Nicaragua must ensure they listen to those who will be most affected by the building of the canal, and take their views into account for decision making,” Guevara charged.

According to the report presented to the judiciary on February 5, the canal route cuts across 52 % of indigenous and Afro-Nicaraguan territories in Rama and Kriol.

“Despite the communities requests for information, to date they have not been properly informed of the canal’s impacts on their livelihoods, territory and culture,” notes AI. According to the human rights organization, Nicaragua is sidelining local communities in its multi-billion dollar canal project.



One thought on “Amnesty International: Nicaragua Canal Sidelines Indigenous Peoples

  • There can be no question that for many people their lives will be changed.The question is,”for better or for worse”.Freinds who have been to the Panama Canal as tourists report that many ships are at anchor waiting in turn to get trhu,which can be a very expensive waste of fuel into the atmosphere which could be avoided with a new canal.
    If indeed the new canal is so much more efficient then perhaps the AI and Ms.Guevara can start pushing for the filling in of the Panama Canal and giving back to those who had been displaced their original way of living again.

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