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Awas Tingni people finally receive land title from the Government of Nicaragua
As reported by the United Nations News Centre, a decade-long struggle for indigenous lands has been crowned with the transfer of land title to the Awas Tingni community. In a December 14th ceremony the government officially granted title to some 74,000 hectares of forested lands to the Awas Tingni people.
“This affirmative step by the Government of Nicaragua represents an important advancement in the rights of indigenous peoples worldwide,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people, James Anaya.
The official titling had been a long time coming. This marks the culmination of a community-led struggle and follows a historic August 2001 decision by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in the case of Awas Tingni v. Nicaragua.
The Court found that the government had violated the community's rights, enshrined in the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights, when it granted logging concessions to traditional lands and for neglecting to recognize Awas Tingni property rights to those lands.
“This was the first case in which an international tribunal with legally binding authority found a Government in violation of the collective land rights of an indigenous group, setting an important precedent in international law,” stated a news release issued by the United Nations.
Commenting on the titling, Mr. Anaya, who was present at the ceremony, stated, “In addition, it provides a model for other Governments to comply with their international legal obligations to recognize and protect the rights of indigenous peoples to their traditional lands and resources in practice.”
For further information on this important legal case on indigenous rights, the Indian Law Resource Center has gathered insightful key documents and articles on the Awas Tingni vs. Nicaragua case. The Indian Law Resource Center is a non-profit organization working to preserve Native lands, resources, human rights, environment and cultural heritage
Posted By Lopaka Purdy at 5:43pm on December 18, 2008
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