Miskito Communities Under Siege
|Lottie Cunningham Wren, 2015 ELAW Annual Meeting|
Land conflicts between settlers and Miskito communities on Nicaragua's North Atlantic coast left at least 10 dead in September, and more this month.
ELAW partner Lottie Cunningham Wren, a Miskito attorney, is working with community members to end the conflict. She traveled with community leaders to Washington, D.C. last week to report on the problem to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IAHCR).
"The situation is incredibly tense," says Lottie. "Another community member died while we were in D.C."
(Find Lottie's testimony, starting just before the 6 minute mark.)
Settlers are drawn to the North Atlantic Coast for its natural resources, including abundant tropical hardwoods. Natural resource extraction and illegal sale of indigenous territory are fueling the conflict.
ELAW worked with Lottie to prepare testimony for last week's hearing, where Lottie and her colleagues shared news about the violence, deaths, and attacks against indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples in the last few months.
Nicaraguan government representatives claim they have not received formal reports on these crimes, but Lottie and her colleagues shared that the government is well aware of the crimes and must take action to prevent further violence and death.
ELAW attorneys Pedro Leon and Killian Doherty worked with Lottie to organize the information presented during the hearing.
"We called for help last minute, and ELAW was so helpful," says Lottie.
Lottie founded the Center for Justice and Human Rights of the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua (CEJUDHCAN) to provide educational programs, legal support, and practical assistance to indigenous peoples and Afro-descendant communities on the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua. ELAW has worked with Lottie for more than 15 years.
We will keep you posted on our work with Lottie to end the conflict.
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