|PHOTO: Alex McDougall|
Lottie Cunningham Wren has worked with ELAW and colleagues around the world to shine light on the silent war facing her people in Nicaragua.
Frances Robles reports on the crisis in The New York Times:
"Indigenous communities all over Nicaragua's Caribbean coast say they are under attack by settlers who have taken over their ancestral lands.
Thousands of Nicaraguans have moved into the lush tropical rain forests that are home to the country's nearly 180,000 indigenous Miskito people. The newcomers - called "colonists" by the Miskito - have been lured by the promise of gold and the abundance of lucrative timber. Some of the settlers have also been forced from their lands by drought...
Although some farmers have been forced out, hundreds of them remain, said Lottie Cunningham, a Miskito human rights lawyer.
'A lot of people don't understand. In the city, if you have money, you go buy a pound of chicken. These people depend on the forest and fishing,' Ms. Cunningham said, noting that many of the villages are hours away from any town and reachable only by boat. 'All these land sales were illegal. The attorney general, the prosecutors, they offer no answers for the murdered or the injured.'
So far, her group has counted 30 killings of Miskitos."
Read more about Lottie's work seeking justice and the tragedy facing indigenous peoples on Nicaragua's Caribbean Coast:
Nicaragua's hidden war (IRIN)
Miskito Refugees Flee Nicaragua (ELAW Bulletin)
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