Miskito refugees flee Nicaragua

PHOTO: Alex McDougall

Indigenous peoples in North Nicaragua are under assault from settlers in a crisis that began last year tied to natural resource extraction and illegal sale of indigenous territory.

Yesterday’s La Prensa reports on the continuing tragedy.

ELAW partner Lottie Cunningham Wren, Director of the Center for Justice and Human Rights of the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua (CEJUDHCAN), has called for ELAW’s help bringing international attention to the crisis.  Lottie, a Miskito attorney, is working with community members to end the conflict.

A press release from CEJUDHCAN states: “Indigenous Miskitos are fleeing from violent attacks by armed ‘Colonos’ (settlers) in North Nicaragua, crossing the Coco River into refugee communities in Honduras.”

“The Nicaraguan government is ignoring egregious human rights violations,” says Lottie.

Lottle is calling on the government to enforce the law, while at the same time working with women and youth to restore watersheds that have been destroyed by settlers through an educational program advancing agroecology and watershed conservation.

In April, the Government of Nicaragua pulled a “no show” at public hearings before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and also at a working meeting with Lottie and IACHR.

In October 2015, Lottie along with other organizations successfully petitioned the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to take precautionary measures to halt the violence.  But the Government of Nicaragua has not acted.

Lottie returned to Nicaragua this week from Honduras where she consulted with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.

For more information, see:

Miskito refugees flee to Honduras, seeking protection from ‘Colonos’ invaders
No Show By Government of Nicaragua
Miskito Communities Seek Justice
Miskito Communities Still Under Siege
Miskito Communities Under Siege

For more information about the crisis in Nicaragua, please contact:

Maggie Keenan
Communications Director
Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide
(541) 687-8454 ext.  106